The UCLA Women’s Water Polo team lose to the Stanford Cardinal 7-6 in the National Championship Game. It was a tough loss for the Bruins as Stanford made a late penalty shot with :11 seconds left to go. It is the second time in two years that Stanford has beaten UCLA in the NCAA Championship Game.
Aside from the game deciding the national champion, this game was a nail-biter from start to finish. Stanford had scored 36 seconds into the game and from there it was a back-and-forth affair between the two rivals. Mackenzie Barr had scored at 5:00 and 1:04 to get the first two goals for UCLA.
Forty seconds later, Charlotte Pratt scored for the Bruins to give them their only lead of the game at 3-2. Stanford’s Ashley Grossman and Kiley Neushul scored their second goals of the game in the second quarter to put Stanford up 4-3. UCLA would tie it at 4-4 with an Alys Williams goal going into halftime.
The defensive was dialed up in the second as only the Cardinal were able to get on the board. Stanford’s Neushul was the lone goal scorer in the 3rd quarter, putting them up 5-4 going into the last period. The last quarter was a different story as both teams added on two more goals, though the final one came with a bit of controversy.
The game-winning goal was scored by Neushul to give Stanford the lead with :11 in the game. A penalty was called on UCLA as they called timeout from the previous play. The referees thought the Bruins did not have possession, in which they would not be allowed to call a timeout.
The officials had a mini conference about the crucial call, but the penalty stood. Stanford hit the 5-meter penalty shot and went up 7-6 for the championship winning goal. UCLA had :11 remaining to shoot but missed a high-arcing shot over the crossbar. Game over.
Though it was a tough way to lose, it was still a fantastic season for the UCLA Women’s Water Polo team as they finish 26-3. Keep your heads up Bruins, it was a great season and we cannot wait for next year!