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With 10-1 run, UCLA women’s water polo bests Indiana and maintains win streak

Freshman utility Panni Szegedi rises out of the water with the ball. (Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Women's Water Polo

No. 1 UCLA13
No. 14 Indiana9

By Una O'Farrell

March 3, 2024 2:17 p.m.

This post was updated March 3 at 10:59 p.m.

Despite a slower second half, the Bruins conquered the Hoosiers this weekend to maintain their starch-clean record.

No. 1 UCLA women’s water polo (15-0, 2-0 MPSF) defeated No. 14 Indiana (14-3, 0-1) after going on a 10-1 run in the first half of the game Saturday in Bloomington, Indiana. The Bruins’ 13-9 victory maintained their undefeated streak this season and their perfect record against the Hoosiers.

UCLA found success offensively in the first two quarters – seven players contributed to the 10-1 scoreboard at halftime – with freshman utility Panni Szegedi and junior attacker Molly Renner both scoring the first two goals of their eventual hat tricks.

“Us working together and moving in unison, and being able to find our open players definitely helps us on offense,” Renner said. “On defense, just having awareness of what’s going on behind us, and our communication with each other definitely helped us become successful in the first half.”

In spite of the Bruins’ offensive performance during the first half, the Hoosiers began to rally back with more forced turnovers and steals in the third quarter, leading the scoring 5-2.

Freshman goalkeeper Lauren Steele said the team felt motivated by their performance in the third quarter to improve in the final quarter.

“We knew we wanted to finish strong, and we weren’t so happy with how we had played in the third quarter,” Steele said. “Going into the fourth quarter, we knew we needed to come out with energy and be tough if we were gonna pull out the win.”

Despite putting up eight goals to the Bruins’ three in the final two quarters, the Hoosiers were unable to recover from the Bruins’ lead in the game’s first half.

UCLA arrived in Bloomington, Indiana, on Thursday night to better prepare themselves for their first conference road game, Renner said.

“I think it helped us adjust to the different time zone,” Renner said. “The indoor environment for the pool is a completely different vibe than what we usually practice in, so it was good to adjust to the different elements that factored into the indoor pool.”

Coach Adam Wright said he felt positive about the team’s transition from tournament play to individual matches.

“It really allows us to focus more on ourselves and a singular opponent,” Wright said. “The next couple of weeks, we are in a position to really focus in on the areas we’ve got to get better at.”

UCLA will continue MPSF play next weekend with a matchup against Biola on Saturday, as well as their annual UCLA alumni game at Spieker Aquatics Center.

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Una O'Farrell
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