College NCAA Water Polo (Women)

Stanford and UCLA water polo players emerge as winners of Top-4 MPSF clashes

women water polo player holding a ball
Photo: Catharyne Hayne / KLC photos

Stanford ended USC’s winning streak

USC water polo squad suffered their first loss since 2015. On Saturday, April 8, they were beaten at home by the squad that defeated them in an NCAA semifinal on May 9, 2015. Stanford finally terminated USC’s record-breaking winning streak at 52.

Before this MPSF match, the two teams only clashed once this season – at Barbara Kalbus Invitational – and USC celebrated after the overtime (10-9). Stanford water polo players traveled to Los Angeles with their hopes high.

Cardinal’s defense was on point in the first quarter, so Brigitta Games was the only USC water polo player who managed to score. On the other side, two goals netted by Makenzie Fischer and one by Jamie Neushul gave Stanford a nice two-goal advantage (1-3). Both teams stepped up their offense and the audience saw a lot of goals during the second period which ended in a draw, 4-4. Stanford went on a break with a significant lead (5-7).

USC cut the deficit down to one, but Stanford responded after already 30 seconds. The visiting team continued to increase the lead and had a three-goal advantage eight minutes before the end (6-9). Cardinal even had +6 four at the middle of the last quarter after three brilliant goals. USC only managed to score two goals and bring the deficit down to four thanks to the brilliant defense of Stanford water polo players who celebrated an important victory, 6-12.

USC vs. Stanford 8-12 (1-3, 4-4, 1-2, 2-3)

Convincing win for UCLA against Arizona State

Match against Arizona State was an easy job for UCLA led by Alexa Tielmann who netted four goals and Maddie Musselmann who scored three times. Rachel Fattal recorded four steals in this match to become UCLA’s new record holder with 182 steals.

Bruin Alys Williams scored the first goal in this match to give her team the lead, which Fattal later increased to 2-0. However, ASU was not scoreless in the first quarter thanks to Claudia Abad who brought the deficit down to one (1-2). The Sun Devils only kept up with their rival for a short period of time. UCLA water polo players netted two consecutive goals and increased the lead to 5-2. The Sun Devils refused to surrender but were able to score only one more, which was not enough. After two more goals, the Bruins had a four-goal lead at halftime (3-7).

In the second half, UCLA water polo players gave an impeccable performance. They proved too strong for Arizona State who was powerless and incapable of a comeback. The Bruins easily overpowered the Sun Devils, 5-13.

Arizona State vs. UCLA 5-13 (1-2, 2-5, 0-3, 2-3)

Cal prevailed over San Jose State

No. 16 San Jose State hosted Cal water polo players on Saturday, April 8. The Bears triumphed in Saratoga, 6-12, and collected their second MPSF win. Anna Illes and Stephanie Mutafyan contributed to the vital victory by scoring three goals each.

Even though the Spartans successfully opened the match by scoring the first goal, Cal responded with two consecutive goals in the first quarter and three more in the second. However, San Jose State water polo players cut the four-goal deficit down to one before the break and announced the tough battle.

Cal stepped up their game in the second half and allowed the Spartans to net only one goal in each period. The hosts had no answer to their opponents’ unblemished game. Stunning Cal’s performance followed, with seven more goals scored by the end of the game for the final 6-12 result.

San Jose State vs. Cal 6-12 (1-2, 3-3, 1-3, 1-4)

On April 15, Stanford will host UCLA. Both squads have won all four MPSF matches played so far, whereas USC recorded three victories and one defeat. The match-up between UCLA and Stanford will decide on who will take the top MPSF spot. Cal will play their last regular match of the season against USC, and Arizona State will welcome San Jose State.

Photo: Catharyn Hayne / KLC fotos 

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