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Sami Hill

Courtesy: UCLA Athletics
No. 3 UCLA Opens NCAA Championship with No. 6 Princeton
Courtesy: UCLA Athletics  
Release:  05/09/2013

May 9, 2013

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LOS ANGELES - The No. 3 UCLA women's water polo team (26-6, 3-3 MPSF) is in Boston and ready to face No. 6 seed Princeton (26-5, 5-0 CWPA) in the quarterfinals of the 2013 NCAA Women's Water Polo Championship on Friday, May 10 at 12:30 p.m. (PT)/3:30 p.m. (ET). Harvard's Blodgett Pool is the host site.

Selected to the NCAA Championships for the ninth consecutive year, the Bruins will be facing Princeton for the first time in postseason play. UCLA is 5-0 all-time against the Tigers, but hasn't faced them since a 17-5 win at UC San Diego on March 12, 2005. Coincidentally, the 2005 season was the start of the Bruins' nine-year NCAA Tournament streak, and the start of UCLA's five consecutive NCAA Championships (2005 to 2009). The Bruins ended the 2005 campaign with a perfect 33-0 record.

UCLA finished fourth in the MPSF this season but recently captured third place at the MPSF Tournament in Berkeley, Calif. The Bruins opened with a 4-3 win over No. 5 California on April 26. UCLA met up with No. 1 Stanford in the semifinals and suffered an 11-7 setback. But the Bruins bounced back to beat No. 3 Arizona State, 10-7, in the third-place game, which essentially locked UCLA in for the last at-large berth to the NCAA Championships.

This marks UCLA's 19th postseason tournament appearance and the 12th NCAA Tournament appearance as the Bruins lead the nation in national championships with a total of 11 and seven NCAA titles in school history. The Bruins haven't won the title since 2009, which capped a string of five straight for UCLA.

The Bruins have amassed a record of 49-7 all-time in postseason play and a stellar mark of 26-4 in NCAA Championship competition. UCLA has never lost to a team outside of California in NCAA Championship play and has only lost once to a team outside of its home state in postseason play in school history. The Bruins' suffered a 9-7 defeat to Slippery Rock (PA) in UCLA's first-ever postseason tournament in 1995. Slippery Rock went on to win the national title.

Should the Bruins get by Princeton, they will meet the winner of No. 2 Stanford/No. 7 Iona on May 11 at 7:00 p.m. (ET)/4:00 p.m. (PT) in the semifinals.

The Bruins went 2-5 this year against the 2013 NCAA Championship field. UCLA defeated No. 4 seed Hawai'i, 12-7, in a neutral contest and posted a 22-5 home win over No. 8 seed Pomona-Pitzer. But UCLA lost twice to No. 1 USC (11-10 N, 11-6 H) and three times to No. 2 Stanford (8-5 A, 8-1 A, 11-7 N) during the 2013 season.

NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP WEBCASTS
The NCAA will webcast every game of the 2013 NCAA Women's Water Polo Championship at Harvard's Blodgett Pool. All games can be watched and heard here:
NCAA Tournament Webcast

BRUINS EARN ALL-MPSF HONORS
Four UCLA women's water polo players have been selected to All-MPSF Teams, as announced by the conference office on May 1, 2013. Rachel Fattal was named the MPSF Newcomer of the Year and also garnered second team All-MPSF honors and was named to the All-MPSF Newcomer Team. Three other Bruins earned all-conference honors in 2013. Sophomores Emily Donohoe and Sami Hill were both named to the All-MPSF second team while senior Gisselle Naranjo picked up All-MPSF honorable mention plaudits.

BRUINS AMONG MPSF SCORING LEADERS
Sophomore attacker Emily Donohoe leads UCLA in scoring with 63 goals (1.97 goals per game), which ranks eighth in the MPSF. Donohoe, a native of Upland, Calif., is also second on the team with nine field blocks and third in steals with 24 and in exclusions drawn (15). Freshman Rachel Fattal is second on team in scoring with 62 goals (1.94 goals per game), which ranks ninth in the MPSF.

FOUR SCORE WITH 20 GOALS OR MORE
Freshman center Alexa Tielmann is third on the team in scoring with 28 goals while sophomore attacker Danielle Ferraro is fourth with 27 goals. Freshman defender Alys Williams is fifth with 26 goals, while senior attacker Gisselle Naranjo is sixth with 25 goals.

IN THE CAGE
Sami Hill, a redshirt sophomore goalkeeper from Santa Barbara, Calif., is currently second in the MPSF in saves per game at 10.71. She is also third in the MPSF in goals against average, allowing 6.25 per game. Hill is also third on the team with 29 assists and is fourth on the squad with 21 steals.

Freshman Alex Musselman hasn't played enough games to qualify for MPSF rankings, but she has allowed just 5.73 goals per game and is averaging 7.99 saves per game.

FEMME FATTAL
Rachel Fattal, a freshman attacker from Seal Beach, Calif., was the first Bruin water polo player, from either gender, to be named MPSF Newcomer of the Year in 2013. Her 62 goals through the MPSF Tournament are the most amongst all freshmen. She leads the Bruins in steals (36), sprints won (44) and field blocks (25) and is second in exclusions drawn (25) and is fifth in assists (25). She was also the only Bruin named to the All-MPSF Tournament Team. Her most clutch outing was undoubtedly in the conference quarterfinals in Berkeley, April 26, against host California. With the Bruins down 3-0 and their NCAA Tournament chances winding down, Fattal proceeded to score once in the second quarter and twice in the fourth to get the team into the semifinals with a 4-3 win over the Golden Bears. She went on to score twice in the third-place win over No. 3 seed Arizona State, perhaps the NCAA at-large deciding game. Fattal was the April 15 MPSF Newcomer of the Week, scoring on 13 of 16 shots in three games.

HILL LEADS THE TEAM IN ASSISTS
Freshman attacker Kodi Hill leads the team in assists with 33 on the year. Hill also has 15 goals and is fifth on the squad with 18 steals. She also ranks tied for third on the squad with eight field blocks on the year.

NARANJO HAVING A SOLID SENIOR CAMPAIGN
Gisselle Naranjo, a senior attacker from Commerce, Calif., is second on the team in assists with 32 on the year. She has 25 goals and is tied for eighth on the team with 13 steals. She also has drawn 12 exclusions and has recorded six field blocks, which is sixth on the squad.

BROOKS ON DECK FOR YEAR FOUR
Brandon Brooks is in his fourth season as UCLA's head women's water polo coach in 2013. He was named the third head coach in program history on June 3, 2009, and has compiled a 97-25 (.795) record.

 


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