UCLA women’s water polo one victory away from a national title – Orange County Register

The UCLA women’s water polo team needs one more to maintain its zero.

The top-seeded and undefeated Bruins advanced to the NCAA championship on Sunday with a 10-8 semifinal victory over two-time defending champion Stanford on Saturday at the Spieker Aquatics Complex in Berkeley.

UCLA, which has never trailed against Stanford, will face third-seeded Cal, a 9-6 winner over No. 2 seed Hawai’i, for the title.

The Bruins have beaten the Golden Bears (18-6) twice this season – 7-6 on April 13 in Berkeley and 13-10 for the MPSF championship on April 28 in Bloomington, Indiana.

Freshman Panni Szegedi led UCLA (25-0) with three goals against the fourth-seeded Cardinal (19-7). Freshman Lauren Steele stopped 12 shots and recorded three steals.

The game was tied at 4 at halftime before the Bruins scored four goals – two by sophomore Genoa Rossi – in the third quarter. Junior Molly Renner’s goal just over a minute into the third gave the Bruins a 5-4 lead that they would not relinquish.

With UCLA leading 8-6 after three minutes, sophomore Taylor Smith’s power play goal at 4:48 proved to be the game-winner. After sophomore Anna Pearson took a penalty kick with 3:40 remaining, Szegedi converted it for a hat trick and nearly led 10-6.

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