April 11, 2009
LOS ANGELES - The No. 3 UCLA women's water polo rally fell short to No. 2 USC on Saturday afternoon, 11-10. Senior attacker Katie Rulon had a game-high four goals on "Senior Day" for the Bruins (20-5, 5-2 MPSF), who lost for the first time at Sunset Canyon Recreation Center this season in eight contests.
Bruin freshman KK Clark tied her season-high of three goals, scoring one goal in the first quarter and two in the third. UCLA also received one goal from sophomores Priscilla Orozco and Megan Burmeister and one from freshman Sarah Orozco. Kami Craig led USC with three goals to help the Trojans improve to 19-1 and 6-0 in the MPSF.
USC got on the board first with an exclusion goal with 5:14 left in the first quarter by Craig. But UCLA answered with an exclusion goal of its own by S. Orozco with 3:25 to go in the first. After USC went ahead 2-1 (2:07) on a goal by Michelle Stein, the Bruins knotted the score at 2-2 (1:49) on a goal by Clark to end the period tied at two goals apiece.
The Bruins took their first lead of the match at 3-2 on a score by Burmeister (6:57). But USC scored the next two goals to reclaim the lead at 4-3 (Craig, 6:17; Kally Lucas, 5:32). UCLA then got back-to-back goals from Rulon to take a 5-4 lead. The first was a 6-on-5 opportunity (3:29), followed by a goal at 2:16 left in the second quarter. USC's Kristen Dronberger would end the first half scoring with 1:33 to go in the second, sending the match to a 5-5 tie at the break.
USC got on the board first in the third period with another goal by Craig (7:18). Rulon tied it at 6-6 (5:19) with her third consecutive goal for UCLA, only to see USC retake the lead at 7-6 (2:51) on another score by Stein. Then the Bruins got back-to-back goals from Clark (1:59, 1:12) to reclaim the lead at 8-7. But the Trojans bounced back to score the last two goals of the third quarter (Lucas, 0:57 and Joelle Bekhazi, 0:02) to head into the final stanza with a 9-8 advantage.
USC again scored first in the final period, extending its lead to 10-8 on another goal by Bekhazi (5:55). The Bruins then mounted their comeback, scoring on back-to-back possessions (P. Orozco, 4:34 and Rulon , 4:00) to tie the match at 10-10. USC's Dronberger would score the game-winning goal with 2:41 left in the fourth quarter. Both teams played stellar defense down the stretch. The Bruins got a much-needed stop on USC's final possession and had the last possession of the game with 23 seconds left. The potential game-tying goal sailed just right of the post.
Senior goalkeeper Brittany Fullen registered eight saves in the cage for UCLA. USC's Ilse van der Meijden registered seven stops in goal.
No. 3 UCLA returns to action on Friday, April 24, at the MPSF Tournament in Honolulu.
No. 2 USC at No. 3 UCLA
USC Goals: Kami Craig 3, Kally Lucas 2, Joelle Bekhazi 2, Michelle Stein 2, Kristen Dronberger 2
USC Saves: Ilse van der Meijden