UCLA 10, UCI 6
A chance at a 10-game UC Irvine women’s water polo win streak was stymied by the UCLA Bruins at Anteater Pool on April 14. UCI is 21-6 after the 10-6 loss. Long Beach State will come to town on April 19 to close out the regular season at UCI.
Six different Anteaters scored one goal, none of which came easily against a physical Bruins defense.
“This game was about preparation for us going into conference,” head coach Dan Klatt said. “UCLA is one of the best teams in the country.”
Both teams started off firing blanks until junior Anneka Bergesen broke free to Bruin territory, scoring the opening goal for UCI. Sophomore Danielle Ward doubled the lead from distance as her shot ricocheted off the crossbar and into the goal minutes later. Despite the two point lead, the Anteaters didn’t gain momentum; it was still anyone’s game
The Bruins opened up the second quarter when UCLA standout KK Clark rallied off two goals, one off of freshman Jillian Yocum’s arm and the other from cross cage. The Anteater offense showed some life after sophomore Michaela Pierandozzi received a pass near the front of goal and muscled a backhand shot to retake the lead.
The lead was short-lived. UCLA came back as a Bruin player received an outlet pass and left a charging Yocum dumbfounded with a lob shot over her head and into the net. With more than a minute left, sophomore Hannah Croghan slapped a touch shot to give UCI a 4-3 lead into the half.
UCLA charged out of the gates in the second half as they launched two counterattacks that led to easy goals. UCI wouldn’t see a lead for the rest of the match as their offense seemed stagnant and frozen. The Anteaters were unable to execute their plays on offense as the Bruins’ defense caused Irvine to lose time on the shot clock and force shots from distance.
“Coming out of the half and having them go two counters right away really hurt us,” Klatt said. “We made some bad decisions shooting-wise. We gave up three goals without having to play in their front court.”
Irvine managed to score one goal late in the fourth quarter, but the deficit was too much to overcome as UCLA already held a four-goal advantage in the final minute.
Yocum played a solid game despite conceding 10 goals. She saved 12 shots to give her 143 saves this season.