LA JOLLA, Cal., May 10. SOME day, two teams other than Stanford and UCLA will play for the NCAA women's water polo championship.
But it won't be this year.
To the surprise of virtually no one, top-ranked and defending national collegiate champ Stanford crushed Indiana, 13-2, in one semifinal match this afternoon at U Cal San Diego while second-ranked and No. 2 seed UCLA thrashed Loyola-Marymount, 8-2, in the other semi.
Thus the Cardinal and Bruins will meet for the third consecutive year to decide just who's No. 1, with each school having won one title. The Bruins prevailed at Stanford two years ago while the Cardinal returned the favor at USC last season.
The match begins at 3 pm PDT here following the Indiana-LMU third-place game.
The Cardinal and Bruins have met four times this season with Stanford holding a 3-1 edge. Their most recent "close encounter" was April 27 at Stanford's Avery Aqwuatic Center,where the home team won a thrilling (and exhuasting!) five overtime battle in the finals of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federationon Championship.
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Stanford (21-2) had little difficulty downing Indiana's Hoosiers (26-10 and making their first NCAA tourney appearance) and built a 13-zip fourth-quarter advantage before IU finally got on the board.
Stanford freshman Laurel Champion was the first scorer of the game, beating Hoosier keeper Jessica Goldner one-on-one to net the goal with 4:02 remaining in the first period. A minute 15 later, sophomore Hannah Luber took the ball at 2-meters and shot it past her defender and Goldner for the 2-0 lead. Stanford then made it 3-0 as Champion made an extra pass in front of the goal to find Lauren Faust who powered her shot into the back of the net.
With just under one minute to go in the first half, Faust notched her second goal — from 2-meters out — to make the score 6-0, Stanford, at halftime.
A little over one minute into the second half, sophomore Kelty Luber scored her first and thirty seconds later, sister Hannah netted her second goal, this on the Cardinal's second 6-on-5. with 4:36 left in the third quarter. That made it 8-0 and the outcome was not in doubt from that point on.
The Cardinal opened up the fourth quarter with a goal by Boreta with one second left on the shot clock. She then tallied her third goal of the match 46 seconds later to extend the Cardinal lead to 13-0. Indiana's Krista Peterson scored two goals for the Hoosiers in the fourth quarter as Stanford took the 13-2 win.
1 2 3 4 Total
Stanford 3 3 5 2 13
Indiana 0 0 0 2 2
Lauren Boreta 3, Lauren Faust 2, Hannah Luber 2, Laurel Champion 1, Julie Gardner 1, Kelty Luber 1, Scotti Shafer 1, Heather Stamper 1, Brenda Villa 1.
Krista Peterson 2
Jackie Frank (Stanford) 7
Amanda Matuk (Stanford) 0
Jessica Goldner (Indiana) 8.
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Similar to last season, where UCLA defeated Loyola-Marymount in the semis, the Bruins roared past the third seeded LMU Lions, 8-2 in the second semifinal match to reach the championship game of the NCAA Championships.
UCLA went up 1-0 in the first period off a 6-on-5 goal from senior Jessica Lopez. Then, freshman Kelly Rulon found the back of the net with 2:35 remaining to make it 2-0 after one period.
Bruin senior goalie Jaime Hipp was outstanding in the net, recording five saves and holding LMU scoreless.
In the second period, a 6-on-5 goal from senior Ashley Stachowski put the Bruins up 3-0. After LMU answered back to make it 3-1, a breakaway goal from Stachowski made it 4-1, UCLA. Senior Maureen Flanagan rounded out the Bruins scoring effort in the quarter with a goal with 2.9 seconds remaining and the Bruins led, 5-1, at the half.
In the third period, Rulon's second goal of the game gave UCLA a 6-1 lead. After LMU scored to make it 6-2, a 6-on-5 goal from junior Natalie Golda boosted UCLA's advantage to7-2 going into the final period.
The Bruins' only score in the fourth period was from Lopez, who recorded her second goal on a 6-on-5 opportunity.
With just over three minutes remaining freshman goalie Tahlia Kerr replaced Hipp to close out the 8-2 victory for the Bruins.
1 2 3 4 Final
UCLA 2 3 2 1 8
LMU 0 1 1 0 2
UCLA – Ashley Stachowski 2, Kelly Rulon 2, Jessica Lopez 2, Natalie Golda, Maureen Flanagan
LMU – Neisha Hoagland, Katie Hicks
UCLA – Jaime Hipp 12
LMU – Rachel Riddell 5