After three straight weekends with of jam-packed tournament action, UCLA women’s water polo lost its first game Sunday.
The women participated in the Stanford Invitational this weekend, playing four teams ranked in the top 20.
After defeating No. 4 Cal and No. 11 Hawai’i on Saturday and No. 14 Indiana Sunday morning, UCLA lost in the tournament final against No. 1 Stanford, 8-5.
During Sunday morning’s game, UCLA was able to hold a halftime lead against Indiana in what was the Bruins’ second matchup of the season with the Hoosiers.
The Bruins played the Hoosiers in the final round of the Michigan Invitational in January and defeated them 8-4. Heading into the game, the Bruins expected a stronger performance from Indiana, a team that had seen much of UCLA’s offense already.
“We expected them to come out strong,” said freshmen defender Alys Williams. “In the end, we got to play our game.”
Playing her own game, Williams was able to step out of her defensive role in the game against Hawai’i to score a hat trick.
Williams said she was proud to see that the team continued to grow throughout the tournament, which brought UCLA’s overall record to 11-0 after three games.
However, the Bruins’ undefeated record would soon fall, as defending national champion Stanford defended its home pool effectively against the young Bruins.
At the half, UCLA had the lead against Stanford, 4-3. But unlike the Indiana game, the Bruin offense was stagnant in the second half, only scoring one goal to Stanford’s five for a final score of 8-5.
This was Stanford’s fourth year in a row winning its own invitational tournament.
Freshman attacker Rachel Fattal said that when reflecting on Sunday afternoon’s game, positivity will be key and in the end the Bruins’ effort in the final will be considered far more important.
“(The loss) gives us a better perspective of what we need to work on,” Fattal said. “It was a good game for both teams – we were with them the whole time.”
On Saturday, the Bruins will return to Los Angeles for their home opener against unranked Cal Lutheran at Spieker Aquatics Center.
Compiled by Stephanie Plese, Bruin Sports contributor.