All-MPSF NCAA Semifinal

Emma Wright, Cal
May 12, 2017

NCAA Quarterfinal # 1

No. 1 seed UCLA 17, No. 8 seed Wagner 2

Recap by UCLA

INDIANAPOLIS -- The top-seeded UCLA women's water polo team advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Championships Friday with a 17-2 win over Wagner at the IU Natatorium. Four players notched hat tricks for the Bruins, who will face the winner of the California-UC Irvine quarterfinal Saturday at 12:00 p.m., PT.

The Bruins scored early and often in the opening frame, as Alexa Tielmann scored at 6:53 of the first to establish a lead they would never relinquish. Less than 30 seconds later, Kodi Hill followed suit with an even-strength goal of her own. Just past the midway point of the quarter, Tielmann added a power-play goal for her second of the afternoon. Scoring proved prevalent from the center position in the first, as Alexis Angermund twice capitalized on power-play opportunities to push the lead to 5-0. Rachel Fattal completed first-quarter scoring at 1:34, as UCLA led Wagner, 6-0.

It took Maddie Musselman 16 seconds to get things going in the second, as she stretched the lead to 7-0 after capitalizing on a power play. Mackenzie Barr also took advantage of a Wagner exclusion just over a minute later, as the senior netted her first goal of the game. Tielmann completed her hat trick at 1:06 of the frame to send the Bruins to the half with a 9-0 advantage.

The second half was more of the same for both teams, as Musselman quickly got scoring started again at 6:57 of the third. Fattal joined the multi-goal club at 5:15 of the frame and Musselman one-upped her Olympic teammate with a hat trick 48 second later. An extra-player opportunity aided Barr in netting her second to complete a run of 13 consecutive goals to open the game for the Bruins.

Before exiting the contest at 2:30 of the third, UCLA goalkeeper Carlee Kapana recorded eight saves in the cage. Hannah Storum would take over and pick up two of her own after relinquishing the Seahawks' first goal of the game at 2:08 of the penultimate quarter. Kimberly Watson did the third-quarter damage for Wagner, which completed its season with a 26-11 record.

Jacqueline Sjogren added a second goal for Wagner in the fourth, but it was surrounded by four more UCLA scores. Rachel Whitelegge (7:11) and Aubrie Monahan (0:01) got into the act, while Barr (6:14) and Angermund (3:06) completed their hat tricks. Each of Barr's goals came on a power play, as the Bruins capitalized on eight of 12 Seahawks exclusions.

Wagner (0, 0, 1, 1 -- 2)

No. 1 UCLA (6, 3, 4, 4 -- 17)

Angermund, Barr, Musselman, Tielmann -- 3; Fattal -- 2; Hill, Monahan, Whitelegge -- 1

NCAA Quarterfinal # 2

California 9, No. 4 seed UC Irvine 7

Recap by Cal

INDIANAPOLIS -- Freshman Emma Wright scored two pivotal goals in the fourth period and the Cal women's water polo team held off a late charge by fourth-seeded UC Irvine for a 9-7 victory Friday during the quarterfinals of the 2017 NCAA Championships at the IU Natatorium.

The Bears (16-9) held a commanding 7-1 lead heading into the fourth quarter but the Anteaters scored three goals in a span of 1:33 to pull within striking distance. Wright converted a 6-on-5 goal at the 5:01 mark of the fourth to push Cal's advantage back to 8-4, and after UCI scored two more goals in succession, Wright struck again just as another 6-on-5 was expiring to make it 9-6 with 1:38 to go.

"Every team needs an athlete that is willing to put the game in their hands at times," Cal coach Coralie Simmons said. "She has that ability. She has no fear to shoot."

The win moves the Bears into Saturday's NCAA semifinals against No. 1 UCLA at 12 p.m. PT.

Cal dominated the first three quarters, giving up just a singular goal early on while otherwise limiting the Anteaters' scoring chances with stifling defense. Senior Stephanie Mutafyan and sophomore Kacey Avalos got the scoring going early on, and after UCI cut the advantage to 2-1 with 5:04 left in the first period, the Bears scored the next five goals in a row for a commanding lead. Avalos and junior Dora Antal each scored twice, with Antal converting one on a penalty shot. Juniors Carla Carrega and Anna Illes also found the cage for the Golden Bears.

"We came into the game really wanting to make them have to adjust to us," Simmons said. "We came out strong and put them on their heels right away. Hats off to Irvine. They battled back and didn't give up."

In addition to Wright's goals, Cal was able to hold off the Anteaters with a few key defensive stops down the stretch as well.

"Holding them to one goal for the first half was really exciting and a testament to our defense," Avalos said. "The second half was a battle possession by possession, and although we had a few letdowns, we were stronger as a unit than as individuals. I was proud of how we came together to the very last second."

Senior goalie Madeline Trabucco made nine saves in three quarters of action.

The Bears went 0-3 against UCLA during the regular season, but two of the losses came by a single goal -- including a 9-8 loss in the semifinals of the MPSF Tournament in which Cal held the lead in the fourth quarter.

"There have been a couple one-goal games, one of which is still very fresh in our minds," Simmons said. "We didn't close out the game. Obviously, we're looking forward to the moment and being able to sustain it and get a win tomorrow. It would be huge for our program. This team doesn't cut corners. We like to do things the hard way. We battled to get into the tournament, and we're going to battle to get into the championship game."

NCAA Quarterfinal # 3

No. 2 seed Stanford 13, Pacific 6

Recap by Stanford

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Makenzie Fischer keyed a decisive second-quarter surge as part of a four-goal outing and No. 2 Stanford beat No. 8 Pacific 13-6 in an NCAA quarterfinal on Friday evening.

Stanford advances to tomorrow's second semifinal at 2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. ET against No. 3 USC, which beat No. 6 Michigan 10-3 in the final game of the day.

Tied 3-3 early in the second period after a lob from Pacific's Kyra Christmas found the back of the cage, the Cardinal scored four unanswered to take control. Fischer poured in three during the surge and Stanford opened things up with counterattack score after counterattack score, striking before the Tigers were able to set up their defense.

Fischer took a pass from Jamie Neushul, raced down the pool and scored to ignite the run at 7:11. Neushul again set up a score when she nabbed a steal and fed Madison Berggren for a goal at 5:41. Maggie Steffens hit a streaking Fischer for another goal on the Cardinal's next possession (5:13) and Fischer capped the strong stretch with her third of the quarter at 3:38.

Mariana Duarte scored in the 6-on-5 for Pacific to halt the onslaught, but at 2:17 Steffens snagged one of her game-high six steals, brought the ball down the pool and took care of things herself for Stanford's eighth goal of the game. The Cardinal led 8-5 at the half.

Pacific scored five first-half goals, but managed just one in the second on a skip from Rachel Krieger at 4:08 in the third.

Stanford extended its lead with third-quarter scores from Fischer, Steffens and Dani Jackovich. Kat Klass hit Fischer for a score at 7:20 and at 5:52 Fischer nearly had her fifth when she floated a ball to the back post, but it didn't find the frame and Steffens pushed it across for her third of the game. Late in the period, the Cardinal cycled the ball around and Dani Jackovich ended up with it in front of the cage for an easy score (1:18).

Gabby Stone played the first three quarters in the cage and made five saves. Julia Hermann came on in the fourth and stopped a pair.

The win was the 500th in the Stanford career of Dunlevie Family Director of Women's Water Polo John Tanner. Tanner now has 500 victories against just 73 losses on The Farm, a winning percentage of .873.

No. 2 Stanford vs. No. 8 Pacific

May 12, 2017 • Indianapolis, Ind.

UOP 2 -- 3 -- 1 -- 0 = 6

STAN 3 -- 5 -- 3 -- 2 = 13

Stanford Goals: Makenzie Fischer 4, Maggie Steffens 3, Madison Berggren 2, Shannon Cleary, Dani Jackovich, Kat Klass, Jamie Neushul

Stanford Saves: Gabby Stone 5, Julia Hermann 2

UOP Goals: Mariana Duarte 4, Kyra Christmas, Rachel Krieger

UOP Saves: Alexis Hollinrake 6, Samantha Pfaff 1

NCAA Quarterfinal # 4

No. 3 seed USC 12, Michigan 6

Recap by USC

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- The USC women's water polo team issued a depth charge in today's NCAA Tournament opener, notching 10 Trojans on the scoresheet while all three USC goalies hauled in a combined 21 saves to register a 12-6 win over Michigan and advance to the NCAA Semifinals. USC goes to 29-3 overall with the win and earns a place in tomorrow's semifinals against Stanford at 5 p.m. ET at IU Natatorium in Indianapolis, Ind. Maud Megens kicked off her first NCAA action with a sizzling goal to open up a 1-0 lead for the Trojans. Michigan would fire back a minute later in finding the top corner of the cage to knot it up 1-1, but the Trojans would lock in from there. While goalie Amanda Longan kept the Wolverines at bay, USC rattled in six straight goals to maneuver out ahead. Longan had 10 saves by halftime, and seven USC scorers had hit the back of the net to lead USC to a 7-2 halftime advantage. After Michigan's early equalizer, Stephania Haralabidis rifled in a 6-on-5 score to light the fuse on a USC scoring surge. Ioanna Haralabidis would hit Brigitta Games for an impressive finish on another USC power play, and that would wrap the first frame as a 3-1 USC lead. On the opening possession of the second, USC's Brianna Daboub issued a searing blast that was too hot to handle for the Michigan defense. Stephania Haralabidis would come up with a couple clutch steals, then found sister Ioanna for a rocket that made it 5-1. Next, Kelsey McIntosh set up the next two Trojan goals, first feeding Hayley McKelvey for a nifty lob, then replicating that effort for Avery Peterson, who also landed a nice lob through to make it a 7-1 USC advantage. Michigan broke its silence soon after, but that was all the Wolverines would manage in the half as USC gripped a 7-2 lead at the break. Longan gave way to Victória Chamorro in the third frame, and she, too, would make some big stops for the Trojan cause. Eight saves later, Chamorro was spelled by Holly Parker for the final three minutes, and the freshman made three strong saves while allowing just a single Michigan 6-on-5 to get through. Michigan had opened the second half with a 6-on-5 score, only to see USC respond with one of its own -- a well-executed series that had Megens hit Ioanna Haralabidis, who served up her sister Stephania for the slam and an 8-3 USC lead. That also marked the senior lefty's 82nd goal of the year, marking the thirdmost single-season goals tallied by a Trojan. USC would plug in a string of three goals on Stephania's spark, with Annika Jensen sizzling in a score to make it 9-3 before freshman McIntosh became the ninth Trojan to score, getting USC ahead 10-3. McKelvey would put a stop to Michigan's final scoring chance of the third with a resounding field block, and the fourth frame was next on the docket. There, Michigan took advantages of a couple offensive lapses by the Trojans to tally back-to-back goals and make it 10-5. Megens settled things down in rising up for a 6-on-5 bullet to net an 11-5 lead for USC, and that's when Parker checked in for work in the cage. Michigan got its final power play of the game to go, making it 11-6, but USC had the last word when Peterson popped a pass out to fellow senior Nikki Stansfield for a crosscage ripper that would wrap the game as a 12-6 USC victory. The No. 3 seeded Trojans will set up for a semifinal clash against No. 2 seeded Stanford tomorrow (April 13) in a rematch of last year's NCAA Championship. USC is looking to get back to the final and claim back-to-back national championships for the first time in program history. USC and Stanford will square off at 5 p.m ET at the IU Natatorium to fight for a right to the championship match on Sunday (April 14) at 3 p.m. ET.

2017 NATIONAL COLLEGIATE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Indianapolis, Ind.)

NCAA QUARTERFINAL

[3] USC 12, Michigan 6

May 12, 2017 | IU Natatorium (Indianapolis, Ind.)

USC 3 - 4 - 3 - 2 = 12

UM 1 - 1 - 1 - 3 = 6

SCORING:

USC -- Stephania Haralabidis 2, Maud Megens 2, Brigitta Games, Brianna Daboub, Ioanna Haralabidis, Hayley McKelvey, Avery Peterson, Annika Jensen, Kelsey McIntosh, Nikki Stansfield.

UM -- Caroline Anderson 2, Heidi Moreland, Kim Johnson, Maddy Steere, Allison Skaggs.

SAVES: Amanda Longan (USC) 10 [1st half], Victória Chamorro (USC) 8 [2nd half], Holly Parker (USC) 3 [final 3 minutes] Heidi Ritner (UM) 8.