The Big Four resumed their dominance of NCAA women’s water polo on Saturday at the NCAA Championship in Indianapolis. Stanford and UCLA emerged as winners of their semi-final matchups against USC and Cal. The top-seeded Bruins will meet the Cardinal in the championship match on Sunday, their third meeting this season with both prior games going UCLA’s way.
The No. 1 Bruins turned aside Cal 14-11 in a rematch of their MPSF conference semi-final tussle, which the Bears lost, 9-8. On Saturday Cal kept the score even in the second half, which was not enough to overcome the three-goal deficit they faced after two quarters. Freshman phenom Maddie Musselman led the Bruins with four goals.
Junior Jordan Raney tallied two crucial fourth-quarter goals in Stanford’s 11-10 win over the defending champions from USC. The Cardinal trailed by one at the end of three quarters after the Trojans scored three times to break the 6-6 halftime tie. Stanford clamped down defensively in the final stanza holding USC to a single tally while Raney and Maggie Steffens combined for three goals to give the Cardinal the victory.
A victory today would hand UCLA its eighth NCAA title, the most of any program since the varsity tournament began in 2001. Stanford has lifted the championship trophy five times.