April 21, 2011
LOS ANGELES - The UCLA women's water polo team has earned the No. 4 seed in the upcoming MPSF Tournament and will open first-round play against No. 5-seed USC on Friday, April 29 at San Jose State's Aquatics Center at 3 p.m.
The Bruins (22-5, 4-3 MPSF) finished the regular season in a three-way tie for third place in the MPSF standings with Hawai'i and USC. Each of those three teams went 1-1 against each other in MPSF play, prompting the tiebreak to result in goal differential (in games between UCLA, USC and Hawai'i). As a result, Hawai'i has secured the No. 3 seed, UCLA the No. 4 seed and USC the No. 5 seed.
All eight conference programs advance to the MPSF Tournament (April 29-May 1 at San Jose State), with the tournament winner earning an automatic selection to the NCAA Tournament (May 13-15 at Michigan). Eight NCAA teams will be selected to play in the NCAA Tournament in three weeks.
The winner of the first-round match between No. 4-seed UCLA and No. 5-seed USC will play the winner of the contest between No. 1-seed Stanford and No. 8-seed Arizona State. Other first-round meetings include No. 2-seed California against No. 7-seed San Diego State, and No. 3-seed Hawai'i facing No. 6-seed and tournament host San Jose State.
Senior Priscilla Orozco concluded the regular season as UCLA's leading scorer, registering 48 goals in 27 matches. Junior KK Clark finished second on the team with 42 goals, and senior Grace Reynolds was third with 30 goals.
UCLA's defense has been anchored by junior goalkeeper Caitlin Dement (128 saves, 5.14 GAA) and freshman goalkeeper Sami Hill (112 saves, 5.69 GAA). The Bruins' defense has posted a combined 5.37 goals against average, the second lowest mark among all MPSF teams. Dement's 5.14 goals against average is the fourth lowest mark in the conference.
The Bruins have advanced to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last six seasons. A strong showing against conference foes in the upcoming MPSF Tournament can help UCLA's chances of securing either an at-large bid or the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. UCLA won five consecutive NCAA titles from 2005 through 2009 - the Bruins' current senior class was a part of the NCAA titles won in 2008 and 2009.