All-MPSF NCAA Semifinal

Photo by John McGillen
Photo by John McGillen
May 11, 2018

NCAA Championship Central

NCAA Championship Bracket

NCAA Tournament

Host: USC (Uytengsu Aquatics Center)

Los Angeles, Calif.

NCAA Quarterfinal # 1

No. 1 seed USC 12, Wagner 5

Recap by USC

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. — The 2018 NCAA Tournament’s top seed and host USC women’s water polo team churned out a 12-5 win over Wagner in today’s quarterfinal bout to stake a claim on a semifinal spot in the NCAA tourney for the 15th straight season. There, the Trojans will meet crosstown rival and No. 4 seed UCLA, with USC looking to claim a fourth win of the season over the Bruins and lock in on a chance to play for a sixth national championship — this time in home waters as action plays out at USC’s Uytengsu Aquatics Center. USC improves to 24-1 overall with today’s win and is due to face UCLA tomorrow (May 12) at 3 p.m. before No. 2 Stanford faces No. 3 California in the 5 p.m. semifinal.

USC’s offensive effort today was paced by sophomore two-meter player Kaylee Brownsberger, who tallied a career-high three goals. Sophomore Maud Megens had started the day’s scoring off, and she’d add another early in the second period while assisting on back-to-back blasts from freshman Paige Hauschild. Senior captain Brianna Daboub had issued USC’s second goal of the game before Wagner broke through with a 6-on-5 goal. Then, it was junior captain Amanda Longan who stood tall and made the save against a Wagner 5-meter penalty shot to bring the first frame to a close. USC would rattle off four straight goals in the second before Wagner got another to go to make it 6-2. Another USC sophomore would get in on the action soon after, with Elise Stein drilling a 7-2 lead for the Trojans before Brownsberger ripped in her second to net that 8-2 USC lead at halftime.

In the third, senior Victória Chamorro took over the cage from Longan and went right to work. Chamorro would collect a whopping 11 saves in just 16 minutes of action, while sophomores Stein and Brownberger each scored again and fellow sophomore Denise Mammolito rifled in back-to-back bullets to help the Trojans build a 12-5 lead. Wagner would score the final two goals, but USC’s lead and ticket to the semis was well in hand as the Trojans closed out a 12-5 win to advance.

For complete results, ticket and schedule information, as well as links to live scoring and streams, go to the NCAA Tournament Central Page at http://usctrojans.com/sports/2018/3/30/2018-ncaa-womens-water-polo-championship-central.aspx?id=22922

NCAA Quarterfinal # 2

No. 4 seed UCLA 8, Pacific 4

Recap by UCLA

LOS ANGELES – Fourth-seeded UCLA doubled up Pacific, 8-4, in opening-round action Friday at the National Collegiate Water Polo Championships at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center. The Bruins advance to face crosstown rival and top-seeded USC in Saturday's first semifinal, set to begin at 3 p.m.

Devin Grab, Lexi Liebowitz and Lizette Rozeboom each registered a two-goal performance in the win. Five Bruins scored in all, while Carlee Kapana turned away five shots in the cage. Truly Dorland scored two goals of her own to lead the Tigers.

UCLA got going quickly, as freshman Roxy Wheaton scored at 6:42 for her first career NCAA Championships goal and seventh of the season. Each team was unable to capitalize on an extra-player opportunity, as the lower-seeded Tigers remained in striking distance. Rozeboom eventually gave the Bruins their first multi-goal edge as the clock neared zeroes (0:02).

Nicole Reynolds of the Bruins showed great second effort just shy of the midway point of the second quarter, cashing in an extra-player goal to make it 3-0 (4:37). Freshman Liebowitz followed up the veteran's effort with her first of the day (3:05) to force a Tiger timeout. Pacific responded with Dorland's first goal of the afternoon (2:54) and tacked on another, also by Dorland, just before the halftime buzzer sounded.

Leading by just two, the Bruins worked to retake momentum in the second half. Senior Grab took charge, scoring twice (5:36, 4:37) within the span of one minute to re-establish a four-goal advantage at 6-2. Pacific's Mariana Duarte chipped away with a score of her own (4:13), in what would be the final goal of the stanza.

Rozeboom made it 7-3 with her second of the game and 42nd of the season 1:20 into the fourth. Liebowitz joined the Netherlands native in the two-goal club at 5:43, extending the Bruin lead to a game-high five at 8-3. Kyra Christmas scored the game's final goal for Pacific, but it proved too little, too late.

In USC, UCLA will face a team it has dropped three games to in 2018. The Trojans squeezed by the Bruins, 6-4, in the Triton Invitational final on February 11. Then, in the regular-season finale, USC took charge early and never looked back en route to an 11-5 win (April 21). Finally, in a high-scoring affair, top-seeded USC edged UCLA by a 13-10 score in an MPSF Championships semifinal game April 28.

NCAA Quarterfinal # 3

No. 3 seed Stanford 14, UC Irvine 8

Recap by Stanford

LOS ANGELES – Six players scored twice and No. 2 Stanford rolled to a 14-8 win over No. 8 UC Irvine in the quarterfinals of the NCAA championship on Friday.

Stanford (19-3) advances to tomorrow's second semifinal at 5 p.m. against No. 3 Cal (20-5), which beat No. 9 Michigan 13-6 in the final game of the day.

Madison Berggren, Aria Fischer, Makenzie Fischer, Kat Klass, Jordan Raney and Mackenzie Wiley spread the offensive wealth for the Cardinal while Bella Baldridge and Shannon Cleary each added scores of their own. Stanford’s 14 goals were its most at the championship since it opened the 2014 edition with an 18-2 win over Indiana.

Stanford set the tone from the get-go. The Cardinal opened with a Berggren 6-on-5 goal (7:18) after Katie Dudley drew an exclusion on UCI’s Isabel Rack. The Anteaters Cara Borkovec found Keana Eldridge to equalize minutes later (5:32) and then Stanford was off to the races, scoring five unanswered to take control.

On the Cardinal’s ensuing possession after Irvine tied it up, Klass shed her defender at five meters, spun and got the skip to find the back of the cage (5:01). Stanford shut down the Anteater’s power play midway through the period, limiting UCI without a shot, and Berggren hit Raney who scored top corner to make it 3-1 (3:41).

Makenzie Fischer stalled another Irvine 6-on-5 with a steal and Raney scored again with a quick shot off a feed from Klass (2:46). Cleary drew another kickout with the Cardinal coming down the pool on offense and Fischer went far post in the 6-on-5 to keep Stanford rolling (2:01).

Early in the second, Fischer took the ball down the right side and when a UCI defender slid over, she dropped it to the middle and a wide open Berggren to push Stanford’s lead to five, 6-1 (6:29).

Corinna Toledo (6:29) and Natalie Seidemann (3:35) pulled UC Irvine within three, but Stanford responded with another extended run, scoring five straight to go up by eight early in the third, 11-3.

Aria Fischer drew an exclusion on Allie Loomis late in the second period and scored quickly on an assist from Klass (3:19). Cleary got on the board with a skip with less than 30 seconds on the clock until the half and with less than a second before the break, Makenzie Fischer also used a skip to score from distance and the Cardinal led 9-3.

Aria Fischer scored cross cage early in the third to keep momentum in Stanford’s corner (7:27). At 6:23, Dudley drew another exclusion and Klass was the beneficiary with her second of the afternoon. The Cardinal was 4-of-7 on the power play overall.

Toni Shackelford for UCI and Mackenzie Wiley for Stanford traded goals to close the third. Wiley would add another and freshman Bella Baldridge scored in the fourth to close the book on the Cardinal victory.

NCAA Quarterfinal # 4

No. 4 seed California 13, Michigan 6

Recap by Cal

LOS ANGELES – The No. 3 Cal women's water polo team had to dig a little deeper into its bench than usual Friday night to move into the semifinals of the 2018 NCAA Championships.

Faced with foul trouble on key players Anna Illes and Kindred Paul, the Bears demonstrated their depth in a 13-6 victory over Michigan at USC's Uytengsu Aquatics Center.

Reserves Sarah Siepker, Rachael Lewin and Brigit Mulder each saw more playing time than usual and nine different Golden Bears scored as Cal earned a date with No. 2 Stanford on Saturday.

"Some people stepped into big roles," said Cal head coach Coralie Simmons, who has the Bears into the NCAA semifinals for the second straight season. "It was nice tapping into the bench. It was a team effort."

Mulder, a freshman on the Dutch National Team who missed the first half of the season because of injury, scored two goals in the first half, including one with four seconds left before halftime to give the Bears a 7-3 lead. Fellow freshman Elli Protopapas also scored two goals, as did senior Carla Carrega and Emma Wright.

All 16 student-athletes on Cal's travel roster played.

"It was important for us to put in four solid quarters," Simmons said. "We wanted to come into this game playing for each other and coming out strong and sustaining it throughout the game. We wanted to get good momentum into tomorrow against Stanford, and obviously that was accomplished."

Cal senior Dora Antal, the program's all-time leading scorer who ranks 11th on the MPSF all-time list with 242 goals, played the role of distributor Friday. She had five assists, consistently getting the ball into set for close-range shots by her teammates.

"I just want to do whatever it takes to win," Antal said. "Any way I can support the team, I'm down for that if our team is winning."

Antal added a goal, as did Illes, Lewin and freshmen Kitty Lynn Joustra and Claire Sonne.

The Bears are 1-2 against Stanford this season, including a win in sudden victory overtime during MPSF play and narrow losses at the Stanford Invitational and MPSF Tournament.

"Stanford has seen us play OK games," Simmons said. "We haven't put together four solid quarters against them. I truly believe if we can do that, then we'll have the opportunity to play on Sunday. We have the pieces and the values and the culture now. Everybody is on the same page, and wants to do it for each other."