College NCAA Water Polo (Women)

California ranked No.1 for the first time in the 21st century

The team of California Photo:Calbears/twitter

The UC Berkeley women’s water polo team made a history in the past nine days. The California Golden Bears excellently opened their MPSF (Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) schedule. They beat 2017 NCAA champion then ascended to No.1 in the Collegiate Water Polo Association Rankings (CWPA) for the first time in the 21st century and, finally, they ended one long losing streak.

Thrilling MPSF Opener

The Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) play begun with a spectacular derby at the Avery Aquatic Center in Stanford on March 4th. Defending NCAA champion Stanford hosted California (No. 4 before the encounter). The home team had been No.1 before the match with a perfect record in the 2018 NCAA season (11-0).

California ended Stanford’s unbeaten run of 14 wins in a row (11 in 2018 and 3 in 2017) in a thrilling game, which was decided after three overtime periods. After 32 minutes the score was 5:5. The home team was 7:6 up after the first overtime period, but in the second, California equalized (7:7). California freshmen Kitty Lynn Joustra, who came from the Netherlands, scored a winner with 51 seconds left in the third overtime period. It was Cal’s first win over Stanford since a 5:2 victory in February 2016.

Stanford 7:8 California
(2:0, 1:3, 2:1, 0:1, 2:1, 0:1, 0:1)

Historical top spot

Cal women’s water polo team moved up to No. 1 from No. 4 in the latest NCAA CWPA rankings. Cal is tied at the top spot with Stanford (the last update on March 7). The Golden Bears assumed the 1st place for the first time since April 2000.

Stanford (11 wins-1 loss overall this season, 0-1 MSPF) is idle until March 26th, when they will face UC Irvine. California had had an opportunity to improve its rating. The Golden Bears played an important match in their own pool last weekend and recorded another historic win.

On Saturday, they welcomed No. 4 UCLA Bruins. The home team posted a 5:3 victory. It was Cal’s first win over UCLA since April 7, 2011. The Bears ended a 16-game losing streak.

The Bruins started well and they led 3:1 in the 14th minute. The Bears (14 – 3, 2-0 MPSF) kept UCLA scoreless for the remaining time, while it netted four goals for a 5:3 win.

This last week has been amazing. We were really pumped after beating Stanford, but we had some team meetings to make sure it wasn’t just a one-time thing. We knew we had to come out hard today and show how good we actually are”, Cal senior Anna Illes said after the game with UCLA (source Cal Bears official website).

California 5:3 UCLA
(1:1, 2:1, 3:0, 0:0)

 

After the game against Cal, the UCLA team visited Stockton. It defeated No.8 Pacific (12:8) and completed a nearly-two-month-long road trip. For the first time this season, the Bruins (17-3, 0 – 1 MPSF) will play at their Spiker Aquatics Center on March 18. They will host San Hose.

Pacific 8:12 UCLA
(0:3, 2:4, 4:4, 2:1)

Trojans returned home

No.3 USC Trojans faced No. 7 UC Irvine and No.5 Hawai’i in USC’s first official action at home.
The Trojans achieved two wins. Led by Maudi Megens (4 goals), USC beat UC Irvine by a 6-goal margin (13:7). A day later, the Trojans shut out Hawai’i (12:7). The top scorer, with 4 goals was Paige Hauschild.

USC 13:7 UC Irvine
(5:3, 4:1, 1:3, 3:0)

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USC 12:7 Hawai’i
(2:2, 2:0, 3:2, 5:3)

Before visiting Los Angeles, Hawai’i opened Big West Conference play with a win over No. 8 UC Irvine (12:6). USC (12-1, 0-0 MPSF) and Hawai’i (16-3, 1-0 Big West) will face each other again already on March 17. The game will be staged in Honolulu.

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