UC Irvine hosted Barbara Kalbus Invitational on February 23-25 where unbeaten Stanford emerged as the winner after triumphing over USC in the final match. UCLA beat Cal to finish 3rd.
Sixteen teams took part in the Invite, divided into four groups.
Group A: Stanford, Pacific, Michigan, Long Beach State
Group B: Cal, UC Irvine, Loyola Marymount, Cal State Northridge
Group C: USC, Arizona State, UC San Diego, San Jose State
Group D: UCLA, Hawai’i, San Diego State, UC Santa Barbara
Top 4 teams shined on the first day of Barbara Kalbus Invite and recorded very convincing victories.
Stanford stormed past LBS (15:3) led by Makenzie Fischer who scored five goals. Madison Berggren added three. Cardinal they controlled the game from the beginning and gradually increased their lead. They were the most dominant in the third period when they netted eight unanswered goals.
LBS 3:15 STANFORD
(1:2, 1:5, 0:8, 1:0)
Thirteen Bears managed to find the net in their first match at the Invite. They outscored CSUN (17:2) as Dora Antal, Carla Carrega, Lauren Charter and Claire Sonne each netted a pair. Cal eliminated all doubts about who would be the winner already in the first half leaving their rivals scoreless (7:0). CSUN were unable to score until the last quarter when the Bears took the foot off the gas.
CSUN 2:17 CAL
(0:4, 0:3, 0:4, 2:6)
Day 1 also saw USC crush SJS (17:1) water polo players who scored the one and only goal in the fourth period. Paige Hauschild and Denise Mammolito both recorded a hat trick and ended up being the game’s top scorers.
SJS 1:17 USC
(0:8, 0:4, 0:3, 1:2)
UCLA had an easy job against UC Santa Barbara (13:3). Bruins achieved a four-goal advantage after first eight minutes of play, and went on a break with that same difference as the second period ended in a draw (2:6). UCLA water polo squad stepped up their game and allowed the opponents to net only one more goal by the end of the game. Brilliant Maddie Musselman scored three goals.
UCSB 3:13 UCLA
(0:4, 2:2, 0:3, 1:4)
Stanford water polo players defeated No. 8 Pacific and No. 4 UCLA to advance to the 1st-place match where they faced No. 3 USC ladies who overpowered No. 6 Arizona State and No. 2 Cal.
Cardinal opened the match with two straight goals making Pacific water polo team trail from the start. Karolina Hlavata cut the deficit to one before the end of the first period, but Stanford continued to play more powerfully in the next quarter and went on a break with a nice five-goal lead (8:5). Pacific scored the first goal in the second half, but that was also their last goal in the match. Seven consecutive goals by Cardinal followed leading them to a convincing win. The game’s top scorers were Stanford’s Aria Fischer and Berggren with three goals.
STANFORD 13:6 PACIFIC
(2:1, 6:2, 5:1, 0:2)
Bruins played one of the most exciting games of the Invite against Hawai’i. It was an equal battle until the very end. Alexis Liebowitz netted the opener for UCLA, but Chloe Barr equalized quickly. Bruins had a minimum lead after eight minutes thanks to Lizette Rozeboom’s goal. They managed to keep that advantage at halftime (5:4) but continued to struggle in the second half. Rozeboom increased the lead to two, but Hawai’i ladies then responded with two goals in a row, so the teams entered the final period with a tied result (6:6). Hawai’i never managed to take over the lead, but threatened until the end. UCLA went ahead 8:6 and 9:7 in the last quarter, and the rival was only able to bring the deficit down to one with two and half minutes left on the clock.
UCLA 9:8 HAWAI’I
(2:1, 3:3, 1:2, 3:2)
Bears beat the hosts (10:6) after an excellent second half. UC Irvine managed to equalize at the start of the game and later cut the deficit to one on three occasions before halftime (4:3). However, Bears had their defense on point and gradually increased the lead making it impossible for the hosts to surmount the difference. Carrega and Joustra led Cal with three goals each.
CAL 10:6 UC IRVINE
(2:1, 2:2, 3:1, 3:2)
Trojans was leading almost the entire time against Arizona State and confidently overpowered them in the end (8:6). Even though Bente Rogge scored the first goal and put Arizona State into the lead, USC stroke back and established control over the game not allowing the opponents to jeopardize their win. The first quarter was tied (1:1), and Trojans had to overcome another tie in the second period, but went on a break with a minimum advantage after Verica Bakoc found the net (3:2). The result was tied again before the last period as Julia Reyes netted two in a row in the final minutes of the third quarter (5:5). Then USC ladies stepped up and went ahead 8:5 as Hayley McKelvey, Hauschild and Annika Jensen each scored one goal. Arizona State was unable to find the solution for coming back and only managed to bring down the deficit to two.
USC 8:6 ARIZONA STATE
(1:1, 3:2, 1:2, 3:1)
UCLA had no chance against the top-ranked Stanford. Bruin Grace Reego was the only Bruin who scored in the first half, while Stanford scored six and had a solid advantage at halftime already (6:1). Bruins were able to keep parity in the third quarter which ended in a draw, but it seemed as if they were tired because they were left scoreless in the final quarter. Eight Stanford water polo players managed to find the net, led by Jordan Raney and Aria Fischer who each netted a pair.
STANFORD 10:3 UCLA
(3:1, 3:0, 2:2, 2:0)
Face-off between Cal and USC was full of suspense and saw the Trojans overcome deficit and come back eventually to celebrate the win leading them to the final match. After Antal netted opener, Brianna Daboub equalized, but Emma Wright and Kacey Avalos each added one, so Cal had a nice two-goal lead after eight minutes (3:1). However, Bears were unable to find the net in the second quarter so USC managed to tie at halftime thanks to goals of Hauschild and Jensen (3:3). Trojan Avalos was the only scorer in the third period and her goal turned out to be the crucial one for the triumph, as the teams scored two goals each in the final quarter.
CAL 5:6 USC
(3:1, 0:2, 0:1, 2:2)
Cal finished 4th after losing to UCLA on Sunday (7:5). Bruins scored three unanswered goals in the first quarter and Cal never managed to overcome that difference. Bears did give their best in the following quarters but UCLA had a 5:0 lead after 11 minutes of play, so it was quite a challenge for Cal squad. Bears failed to surrender and managed to come down by one in the third period (5:4), but UCLA then achieved a three-goal advantage again and it was obvious that Cal had no strength for claiming the victory. Musselman excelled with four goals for UCLA.
CAL 5:7 UCLA
(0:3, 2:2, 2:1, 1:1)
USC had no chance against impeccable Stanford water polo players who celebrated a 9:3 win without any trouble. Cardinal went ahead 3:1 after eight minutes and dominated the game completely. They went on a break with a four-goal advantage (6:2) making it clear that they can beat any rival. USC was left scoreless in the second half when Stanford added two more and clinched a convincing victory.
STANFORD 9:3 USC
(3:1, 4:2, 2:0, 0:0)