UCLA Wins MPSF; NCAA Tourney Field Set

2017 MPSF Champion UCLA (Photo by Don Liebig)
May 1, 2017

MPSF Women's Water Polo Release 16 and All-Tournament Team

2017 NCAA Tournament Bracket

UCLA (6-0 MPSF, 22-1 Overall) won its all-time high 11th MPSF Championship as it hosted the conference tournament (Apr. 28-30). The top seeded Bruins defeated No. 5 seed California in the semifinals, 9-8, and No. 2 seed Stanford, 6-3 in the finals. In an incredible defensive effort, UCLA collected 13 steals in holding the Cardinal scoreless over the final 21 minutes. MPSF Tournament Most Valuable Player Rachel Fattal totaled five goals along with several key defensive plays, including a huge field block in Cal's final possession to preserve the semifinal win. The Bruins take 12-straight wins to the NCAA Tournament (May 12-14, Indianapolis, IN), where they are the No. 1 seed, and facing the UCSD/Wagner play-in winner in the quarterfinals.

STANFORD (5-1 MPSF, 20-3 Overall) Maggie Steffens totaled five goals en route to all-tournament honors, as the Cardinal placed second with wins against CSU Bakersfield, 14-2, and USC in the semifinals, 6-5. Goalkeeper Gabby Stone was also named to the all-tourney team. Stanford has 20 wins for the 13th consecutive season. Makenzie Fischer and Jordan Raney scored two goals apiece in the semifinals. Steffens ranks third in the MPSF in scoring average (2.39 GPG), with Fischer right behind in fifth with 2.09 per game. Stanford is the NCAA No. 2 seed, first playing the Pomona/Pacific play-in winner in the quarterfinals on May 12.

USC (4-2 MPSF, 28-3 Overall) picked up MPSF Tournament wins over San Jose State, 17-2, and California 8-6 for third-place. The Trojans made a late push in the final four minutes for the last three goals against Cal. Amanda Longan collected 14 saves in that win, and finished with 24 for the weekend. Stephania Haralabidis takes an MPSF-high of 80 goals to the NCAA Tournament. She enters NCAA's with 265 career goals, ranking seventh all-time in the MPSF (three away from No. 6, eight from top-five). She along with Brigitta Games were MPSF All-Tournament selections. USC is the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, playing No. 6 seed Michigan in the quarterfinals.

CALIFORNIA (2-4 MPSF, 15-9 Overall) Madeline Trabucco collected 11 saves in arguably the biggest win of the year for the Bears, 9-7 over No. 4 seed Arizona State in the MPSF Quarterfinals. The win strengthened Cal's case for an NCAA Tournament bid in beating ASU two of three meetings, and ultimately received a five seed and playing UC Irvine in the quarterfinals. Dora Antal recorded a hat trick in the win vs. ASU, and is No. 4 in the MPSF with 49 goals (2.13 GPG). Anna Illes made the MPSF's All-Tournament team.

ARIZONA STATE (3-3 MPSF, 20-7 Overall) won the fifth-place game over CSU Bakersfield, 13-4. The win gave the Sun Devils 20 for the fifth time in program history. Alkistis Benekou recorded three goals and Mia Rycraw collected 11 saves. Benekou finished the season with 46 goals, followed by Lena Mihailovic's 45, both in the top-15 in the conference.

CSU BAKERSFIELD (0-6 MPSF, 13-17 Overall) picked up its first-ever win over an MPSF opponent since it joined the conference in 2013, a span of 40 games (30 regular season, 10 tournament), edging San Jose State 10-9 in Saturday's consolation. The result also was the Roadrunners' first over the Spartans since 2009, a span of 15-straight games. Ashley Paz poured in six goals in the win, one of six MPSF players this year to record such an effort. She finished the year with 50 goals, and ranks seventh in the conference (1.92 GPG). Courtney Wahlstrom totaled 23 saves in her final weekend, giving her 916 in her career and ranking eighth all-time in the MPSF.

SAN JOSE STATE (1-5 MPSF, 10-19 Overall) dropped a 17-2 game to USC and 10-9 to CSU Bakersfield at UCLA to end the season. Katelynn Thompson had 10 saves in the consolation loss to CSUB. Carla Toha Vilanova was the Spartans' leading scorer this year with 38 goals, ranking in the MPSF's top-20.