Women’s Water Polo: #1 Stanford Nips UCLA, 4-3, at Stanford Invite

STANFORD. Cal., February 9. THE most recent time the two teams met was for the NCAA Championship in May of last year at Los Angeles.

Then Stanford came away with an 8-4 victory and the title.

Today, only the championship of the Stanford Invitational was at stake, but the outcome was the same as it was nine months ago. The No. 1 Cardinal (5-0) scored a hard-fought 4-3 victory over No. 2 UCLA. Stanford defeated Indiana, 15-3, in the morning game and then topped the Bruins of Coach Adam Krikorian in the evening.

In the finals, Stanford (4-0) faced UCLA (3-0) for the first rematch since the NCAA Championship game of 2002. This evening, the score was closer but the result was the same.

UCLA took the first lead with a goal by senior Maureen Flanagan two minutes into the match. Stanford then tied the score at 1 with 2:43 left in the first quarter.

Both teams were scoreless for the rest of the half, but after a steal by Cardinal sophomore Hannah Luber on the defensive end, captain Julie Gardner found Brenda Villa in front of the goal as she lobbed a pass over the UCLA keeper for a 2-1 lead.

The Bruins responded with Flanagan's second goal of the night to tie the game at 2-2 heading into the final seven minutes.

In the fourth period, goalie Jackie Frank blocked a shot by UCLA's Maureen Flanagan. Villa scooped up the ball in front of the goal. V then passed up-pool to Gardner who went one-on-one with the goalie and found the back of the net with five minutes left.

The score gave the Cardinal a 3-2 lead and then junior Lauren Faust extended the Stanford advantage to 4-2 with just over 2 minutes to go. UCLA converted a 6-on-5 opportunity by former all-CIF star Ashley Stachowski, and that cut the lead to one with 55 seconds remaining.

With barely 20 seconds remaining, UCLA reclaimed possession of the ball but Stanford sophomore Kelty Luber stole it, securing the 4-3 win.

Gardner was the Cardinal's high-scorer with a pair of goals while Faust and Villa had one each. For the Bruins, froshwoman Kelly Rulon was the team's leading scorer in the tournament with five goals.

Although she gave up four scores, Bruin goalie Jamie Hipp was still a force in the cage, thwarting 10 Cardinal shots. Frank saved 11.

USC earned third place by defeating California in the bronze medal match, 9-3. The keepers combined for 21 saves during the game, but the Trojan offense was relentless. Despite an early 2-1 Golden Bear lead, USC scored seven straight goals to give the Women of Troy an 8-2 lead. Katrin Dierolf led USC's scoring drive with four goals, including a penalty shot.

San Jose State captured fifth by defeating Hawai'i, 6-5. The Spartans tied the game at 5 with 1:23 left in the third quarter and then finished off the Rainbows on a man-up goal by Delores Johnson with 4:29 left.

Indiana took seventh after losing to the Cardinal earlier in the day but finished ip with a 14-2 win over UC Santa Cruz. Kristin Stanford was the high-scorer for the Hoosiers this weekend, notching 11 goals in her four games.

Stanford will be back in action on Sat., Feb. 22nd as the Cardinal host the U.S. Senior National Team at 5:30 p.m. Ellen Estes and Margie Dingeldein, standouts from last season's squad, return to face off against their former teammates.

Stanford resumes collegiate play in a rematch of today's title game when UCLA returns to The Farm for the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opener Friday, Feb. 28th at 3 PM. UCLA travels to Irvine Wednesday, Feb. 12 for a match with the Anteaters; then goes
'cross-town to face SC at the Trojans' home pool on Friday, Feb. 21 at 3 PM, before facing Stanford a week later.

The NCAA Final Four will be May 10-11 at U Cal San Diego in La Jolla.

— Bill Bell




Teams 1–2–3–4–Final
UCLA 1–0–1–1–3
Stanford 1–0–1–2–4

Maureen Flanagan 2, Ashley Stachowski 1
Lauren Faust 2, Julie Gardner 1, Brenda Villa 1.

UCLA – Jaime Hipp, 10
Stanford – Jackie Frank, 11

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