April 28, 2013
BERKELEY, Calif. - The No. 4 UCLA women's water polo team won the rubber match with No. 3 Arizona State, 10-7, to capture third place in the 2013 MPSF Championship Tournament in Berkeley, Calif., on Sunday afternoon at Cal's Spieker Aquatic Complex. Freshman Rachel Fattal and junior Becca Dorst each scored twice to lead the Bruins.
UCLA improved to 26-6 overall, while Arizona State dropped to 26-7. The victory for UCLA all but secures the final at-large berth to the upcoming NCAA Women's Water Polo Championship. The Bruins' fate will be determined tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. (PT). You can watch the live selection show on-line by clicking here.
Ao Gao got Arizona State on the board first at the 6:56 mark. But senior Gisselle Naranjo got the equalizer with 5:59 to go in the first period with a power play goal. ASU's Alicia Brightwell converted a penalty shot (5:47) to regain the lead at 2-1. The Bruins would make back-to-back stops on ASU power plays to keep the Sun Devils close. Then after Naranjo picked up her second exclusion and the Bruins subsequent stop, sophomore Emily Donohoe scored UCLA's team-leading 63rd goal of the season to tie it at 2-2 (1:58) to end the scoring in the first quarter.
The Bruins would dominate the second quarter and take their first lead of the game and never look back. Freshman Alys Williams put UCLA in front 3-2 with 6:03 left in the second period, starting a string of three straight goals by three different Bruin freshmen. Freshman India Forster made it 4-2 with a goal at two meters (5:15) and then freshman Kodi Hill put the Bruins up 5-2 (4:40). After junior Kelly Ronimus made a huge field block on an ASU power play, sophomore Danielle Ferraro decided to get in on the scoring frenzy. Her skip shot on a 6-on-5 opportunity made it five straight goals for UCLA to extend the lead to 6-2 (1:51). Shannon Haas scored the final goal of the second quarter with five seconds left to trim UCLA's lead to 6-3 at the break.
Arizona State opened the third period with two power plays, but the Bruins turned them away both times. Sami Hill made a nice save on the first and Kodi Hill broke up the second with a steal. Then freshman Rachel Fattal scored on a one-timer off a great feed from Ferraro to put UCLA up 7-3 with 4:55 to go in the third. Gao would then complete her hat trick for ASU to make things interesting at 7-5 with back-to-back goals (power play goal at 4:35, full strength goal at 2:21). After Naranjo picked up her third exclusion and fouled out of the game, Dorst would give the Bruins a little breathing room on a 6-on-5 counter to make it 8-5 with 1:22 to go in the third. But Brightwell had an immediate answer to trim it to 8-6 at the 1:01 mark of the third period. The Bruins got another important stop on an ASU extra man situation to take an 8-6 lead into the fourth period.
Fattal started the final period off right, winning her fourth sprint of the game. Then Gao, ASU's leading scorer in the contest, picked up her third exclusion and had to leave the game. Which is when Dorst made them pay, scoring her second of the game on a power play goal to put UCLA up 9-6 with 7:22 remaining. The Bruins would stretch the lead to 10-6 on another counter. This time Kodi Hill fed Fattal, who redirected for a score, her second of the game, with 6:01 to go. After both teams made some good stops, Ronimus came up huge again on defense, foiling yet another ASU power play with a steal. For the game, the Bruins were 4-for-8 on power plays while ASU was held to 2-for-15. Brightwell capped the scoring with a counter goal at the 1:56 mark of the final quarter, her third of the game, to end the scoring at 10-7.
Redshirt sophomore Sami Hill played the entire game in goal for UCLA and recorded 10 saves. It was her third double-digit save effort of the MPSF Tournament. Redshirt freshman E.B. Keeve also played the entire game in goal for Arizona State and was credited with 19 saves.
The Bruins will await their fate for the upcoming NCAA Championship, set for May 10-12 in Boston with Harvard serving as the host school. But UCLA won't have to wait long as the selections are announced tomorrow.
No. 4 UCLA vs. No. 3 Arizona State
ASU Goals: Ao Gao 3, Alicia Brightwell 3, Shannon Haas
ASU Saves: E.B. Keeve 19