UCLA women’s water polo held Stanford to nearly two scoreless quarters, but it wasn’t enough.
No. 1 Stanford (14-1, 1-1 MPSF) ended No. 4 UCLA’s (21-4, 2-2) five-game win streak with an 8-5 loss Saturday.
“Today was a great display of us not changing or reacting poorly,” said redshirt junior attacker Grace Reego. “We had a positive attitude and we continued to play like we knew we could hang with them.”
The Bruins had a home-pool advantage in the matchup. UCLA seniors attacker Devin Grab, attacker Nicole Reynolds and center Alexis Angermund were honored before the game, and UCLA’s 1998 and 2008 championship-winning teams were honored during halftime.
Stanford was first on the board, scoring in just under a minute and a half, and Stanford’s driver Makenzie Fischer gave the Cardinal their second goal shortly after. A shot by junior driver Rachel Whitelegge just 30 seconds later narrowed the Bruins’ deficit to just one. Stanford answered with three goals before the quarter was over. The first quarter ended with Stanford up 5-1, despite many shots on goal for UCLA in the latter half.
Following a series of successful blocks by junior goalkeeper Carlee Kapana, freshman attacker Myna Simmons was the first to score in second quarter with three minutes to go. The Bruins held Stanford scoreless in the second quarter. The first half ended with Stanford up by a score of 5-2.
Sophomore attacker Maddie Musselman was first to score in the second half, bringing the score to 5-3 Stanford. Following a failed penalty shot by Musselman, UCLA scored once again in the third quarter, thanks to a shot by Angermund.
With less than three minutes to go in the third quarter, Musselman scored once again, tying the game and giving the Bruins four straight unanswered goals. Each of UCLA’s goals in the game came in six-on-five situations, and the Cardinal did not score for the entirety of the second and for most of the third quarter.
“We stayed consistent and picked up our intensity today,” Angermund said. “It was crucial to stay centered and maintain a ‘let’s go’ mentality.”
Coach Adam Wright said that the Bruins gave the Cardinal too many chances early in the game and that they had to react in the second and third quarters.
“In the first quarter, we were allowing them lots of opportunities,” Wright said. “There was no ‘fire-up’ speech after that, we just realized that if we were going to let them do that, we weren’t going to have a chance.”
Stanford’s first goal since the first quarter came late in the third and was followed by another shortly after in the final quarter, bringing the score to 7-5 in the Cardinal’s favor. Stanford scored for a third time near the end of the game. UCLA was not able to answer in the fourth quarter. The final score was 8-5.
UCLA and Stanford met only one other time this season, when the Cardinal beat the Bruins 10-3 at the Barbara Kalbus Invitational. Stanford’s only loss this season was against No. 2 California last month, a team which UCLA has beat in one game this season.
“We are in a much better place than we were the last time we played (Stanford) and if we keep going how we’re going, then I’m excited to see where we end up.” Wright said.
UCLA’s next match will be against No. 3 USC in two weeks. The Bruins have failed to best the Trojans in competition this season.