Last weekend saw the victorious season opening for UCLA and USC – the two women’s water polo teams which shared the 2nd spot in preseason rankings. January 20 and 21 saw the top-ranked Stanford and 4th placed Cal Bears record their first triumphs. Bruins won four more at UCSB Invite, while the Trojans had a weekend off.
Bears excel at Rainbow Invite
Cal ladies traveled to Honolulu where they participated in the Rainbow Invitational hosted by No. 6 Hawaii water polo team. They triumphed over the hosting team on Day 1 after struggling for a while in the first quarter. Emma Wright was the only scorer in this period. Then they stepped up their game and went ahead 3:0, Hawaii responded but was falling behind by two at halftime (4:2). Bears refused to let the hosts jeopardize their lead and thanks to their defense being on point, they had a four-goal advantage before the last period (7:3). Then two more goals followed, scored by Wright and Anna Illes, and that was when all the doubts about the winner were eliminated. Hawaii only found the net once more to decrease the final difference to five (9:4).
CAL 9:4 HAWAI’I
(1:0, 3:2, 3:1, 2:1)
Bears allowed their other two rivals to score only two goals each. Both Marist and Loyola Marymount were helpless against the motivated Cal water polo team.
MARIST 2:17 CAL
(0:5, 1:2, 0:6, 1:4)
LOYOLA MARYMOUNT 2:12 CAL
(1:3, 1:3, 0:4, 0:2)
Cal ladies will next weekend host the Cal Cup in Berkeley, where they will encounter with UC Davis, UC Irvine, and Fresno State.
Stanford proved too strong for UC Davis
Cardinal ladies started the new season on January 20on Saturday by defeating UC Davis at the LouStrong Memorial. They were led by Katie Dudley and Makenzie Fischer who each finished this game with a hat-trick.
UC Davis was left scoreless in the first quarter. Kat Klass netted the opener for Stanford, Jordan Raney increased her team’s advantage, and Dudley added the third goal. It was only after Cardinal’s fourth goal netted by Mackenzie Wiley that UC Davis water polo players woke up and started scoring. However, they did not have what it takes to overpower their rival. Stanford quickly achieved a five-goal advantage which they took to the break (7:2). Their control continued in the second half during which they continuously increased the lead. UC Davis was unable to come back. After netting only one goal in the third period, they failed to score until the end of the game.
Stanford also played an exhibition match against Chinese National Team which ended in a draw, 5:5.
STANFORD 15:3 UC DAVIS
(3:0, 4:2, 5:1, 3:0)
Cardinal will next weekend play four matches at Cal Cup. At the beginning of the tournament they will play one more exhibition game against National Team of China, and afterward, they will face UC Irvine, Fresno State, and San Jose State.
UCLA wins all four at UCSB Invite
Bruins played the most exciting match last weekend against No. 8 Michigan. After an equal first half, they managed to prevail and record a narrow 5:4 win. The first quarter saw both teams score one after another and take turns in leading. Bruin Maddie Musselman was the first one to find the net after one minute of play, but Maddy Steere stroke back two minutes later. Then Michigan took over the lead thanks to Maddy Johnston, after which Lizette Rozeboom netted an equalizer. However, nobody managed to score in the second period and they were tied at halftime (2:2). UCLA got off to a better start in the second half which started with their two consecutive goals. Bronte Halligan and Grace Reego brought their team a two-goal lead before the last eight minutes of the game (4:2). Michigan failed to surrender and made things very exciting with just three minutes left on the clock when Steere added two more to tie the result. Musselman emerged as the hero of the game as she scored the crucial goal for UCLA two minutes before the end. Bruins resisted all Michigan’s attempts to break their defense and eventually celebrated their first win this season.
UCLA 5:4 MICHIGAN
(2:2, 0:0, 2:0, 1:2)
UCLA had an easy job against Fresno State and beat them convincingly, 21:4. Everything was clear after Bruins netted 14 goals in the first half while allowing their rival to score only once. Rozeboom was the game’s top scorer with four goals.
UCLA 21:4 FRESNO PACIFIC
(7:0, 7:1, 3:3: 4:0)
On Sunday, Bruins had some trouble finding the rhythm necessary for defeating UC Santa Barbara. After they netted three unanswered goals in the first period, tables turned in the next quarter when UCLA was left scoreless. So the first half ended in a draw (3:3). Bruins managed to achieve the minimum advantage before the last quarter (5:4), but finally overpowered their opponent by scoring five goals and going ahead 10:5. UC Barbara was only able to bring down the deficit, but it was too late for a comeback.
UCLA 10:6 UC SANTA BARBARA
(3:0, 0:3, 2:1, 5:2)
Thanks to another great comeback, UCLA stormed past UC San Diego, 9:3. Even though they were falling behind by one after eight minutes of play (1:2), Bruins woke up in the second quarter and scored four goals leaving their rival scoreless, so this was the crucial moment which eventually determined the winner. They had a nice three-goal advantage at halftime (5:2), after which they preserved the control and stopped UC San Diego from making a surprise.
UCLA 9:3 UC SAN DIEGO
(1:2, 4:0, 3:1, 1:0)
UCLA’s next challenge will again be four matches next weekend when they will take part in Michigan Invite and play against Marist, Michigan, Wagner, and Pacific.