Nov. 28, 2009
LOS ANGELES - Junior Ben Hohl scored a season-high four goals to lead the No. 4-seed UCLA men's water polo team past No. 1-seed USC in an MPSF Tournament semifinal match on Saturday afternoon at USC's McDonald's Swim Stadium.
The victory propels UCLA into the MPSF Tournament championship match against California on Sunday. Game time at McDonald's Swim Stadium is 3 p.m.
The Bruins (21-6) have advanced to the MPSF Tournament's title match for the first time since 2004, when UCLA dropped a 7-6 decision to Stanford before winning the NCAA title the following weekend.
In Saturday's semifinal victory, the Bruins fell behind by a 2-0 margin early in the first quarter before using a 5-1 scoring run to assume a 5-3 advantage by halftime. UCLA never trailed after securing a 4-3 lead on a goal by junior Jacob Murphy with 1:51 to play in the second quarter.
UCLA pulled ahead late in the third quarter, thanks to the strong play of Hohl. The junior from Atherton, Calif., scored both of UCLA's third-quarter goals, helping the Bruins assume a 7-6 advantage heading into the game's final quarter.
The Bruins blanked the host Trojans (23-2) in the fourth period by a 3-0 margin. Hohl scored on a 6-on-5 opportunity with 7:17 remaining in the game to hand UCLA an 8-6 lead. Murphy scored with 5:55 to play before junior Emilio Vieira helped the Bruins ice the victory with a goal at the 1:40 mark.
Senior Chay Lapin registered 13 saves in the cage, breaking the UCLA career saves record previously owned by Brandon Brooks, who currently serves as UCLA's head women's water polo coach. Lapin has netted 702 career saves, eclipsing' Brooks' total of 700 saves.
USC's Joel Dennerley recorded three stops in the cage.
The four-goal win over USC marked UCLA's largest margin of victory against its crosstown rival since earning a 10-4 win against the Trojans in a Pac-10 contest on Nov. 10, 1989.
UCLA faces California on Sunday at 3 p.m. The winner of that match secures an automatic bid to the 2009 NCAA Tournament, to be hosted by Princeton University (Dec. 5-6). The Bruins last advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2004.
No. 4-seed UCLA vs. No. 1-seed USC
USC Goals: Shea Buckner 3, Justin Rappel 2, Anthony Artukovich
USC Saves: Joel Dennerley 3