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UCLA women’s water polo scores largest win over Stanford in 26 years on Senior Day

Senior attacker Malia Allen holds the ball behind her head. (Julia Zhou/Photo editor)

Women's Water Polo

No. 3 Stanford8
No. 1 UCLA15

By Lamar Tuker

March 31, 2024 12:16 p.m.

This post was updated March 31 at 11:25 p.m.

Senior attacker Malia Allen achieved a career-high day for the Bruins on Senior Day.

“Everything grows from her defense. The way she was moving with the ball and attacking, but more importantly without the ball, set her up for great shots,” said coach Adam Wright. “She was scoring in every way you can.”

Allen totaled six goals and three assists.

No. 1 UCLA women’s water polo (19-0, 4-0 MPSF) beat No. 3 Stanford (14-4, 2-1) on Saturday at Spieker Aquatics Center in its last home game of the season by a score of 15-8. The seven-goal margin of victory marks the Bruins’ largest over the Cardinal since 1998 before women’s water polo became an NCAA-sanctioned sport.

All but one goal in the Bruins’ seven-point advantage was thanks to the Irvine local. Allen’s six goals during the match broke her personal record of four and matched a Maddie Musselman performance from 2022.

Graduate student attacker Hannah Palmer said Allen’s performance was a memorable tribute to Senior Day.

“I’ve been playing with Malia since we were like nine,” Palmer said. “So I’m so proud of her.”

Palmer contributed one goal and two assists on the day amid eight different goal-scorers for the Bruins.

Freshman goalkeeper Lauren Steele buried back-to-back goals at the end of the second quarter to secure the Bruins a 7-6 lead at the break.

Palmer said being a team veteran offers a special approach to mentoring the freshmen.

“I understand where they’re coming from as a player,” Palmer said. “Something that’s really special is we’re able to really relate to each other and understand a little bit more if it’s coming from a teammate rather than a coach.”

Despite the plethora of goals eventually collected by the Bruins, the Cardinal led 3-2 at the end of the first quarter, as the Bruins committed four turnovers.

UCLA didn’t allow Stanford a single point during the third quarter, growing its lead by four. Freshman utility Panni Szegedi started off the Bruins’ scoring in the third quarter, followed by sophomore utility Genoa Rossi, Allen and Palmer.

“We had a great transition. And then, on our front courts, we weren’t forcing things quick. We were forcing them to play defense, getting them back in our zones,” Wright said. “That’s where you see Malia and Palmer going to work.”

The Senior Day match ended with Allen as the final scorer. As the Bruins depart Westwood for the rest of the season, Allen said she enjoyed a final home victory.

“It was definitely a lot of fun. And it being my last home game, it was something really special out there,” Allen said. “I was really happy to be a part of it.”

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Lamar Tuker
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