April 28, 2012
2012 MPSF Tournament Website
STANFORD, Calif. - Hannah Sebenaler scored two goals, including the game-winner on a lob with three seconds remaining, to help the No. 2-seeded UCLA women's water polo team defeat No. 3-seed USC, 4-3, in the semifinals of the MPSF Tournament on Saturday afternoon.
UCLA (20-3) will face No. 1-seeded Stanford (22-1) in the tournament's championship match on Sunday at 4 p.m. The Bruins have gone 1-2 this season against the Cardinal.
Trailing 3-2 in the third quarter on Saturday at Avery Aquatics Center, Sebenaler scored with 3:01 to play in the frame, tying the game at 3-3. The semifinal match remained deadlocked over the next 10:38 before Sebenaler's lob from about seven meters away found its way to the far post for the victory.
"We knew this was going to have to be a low-scoring game for us to win," head coach Brandon Brooks said. "We played great defense and fought the whole game. The girls showed a lot of heart, and we are excited to play in the final tomorrow."
Brooks has guided UCLA to the MPSF Tournament's title match in each of his three seasons as head coach. The Bruins defeated Stanford in the championship match in 2010 and lost to California in the title game last season.
USC (20-5) had scored three consecutive goals over the second and third quarters to erase a 2-0 deficit and secure a one-goal cushion. Neither team scored in the first quarter, before UCLA scored the game's first two goals in the second period.
Saturday's victory helped UCLA improve its record to 3-0 this season against USC.
USC's three goals came from Nadia Dan, Patricia Jancso and Monica Vavic.
Senior goalkeeper Caitilin Dement registered seven saves in the cage for the Bruins. USC goalkeeper Flora Bolonyai recorded 10 saves.
No. 2-seed UCLA vs. No. 3-seed USC (MPSF Tournament, semifinal)
USC Goals: Nadia Dan, Patricia Jancso, Monica Vavic
USC Saves: Flora Bolonyai 10