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NCAA WATER POLO

UCLA Uses Defense to Win Another Title

May 12, 2003|Dan Arritt | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — When it came time for the UCLA women's water polo team to defend its NCAA title Sunday, the Bruins went on the defensive.

UCLA scored four second-half goals and held Stanford to only three shots on goal in that span to come away with a 4-3 victory in front of 1,307 at UC San Diego.

"We gave them a breath of life and they took advantage," Stanford Coach John Tanner said.

The Bruins trailed, 2-0, at the half after failing to score on three extra-man situations.

The momentum began to shift when UCLA's Kelly Rulon skipped a shot past Jackie Frank on the Bruins' first possession of the second half.

UCLA then took advantage of having the extra player late in the third quarter. Laurel Champion received a 20-second ejection for fouling UCLA's Kristina Kunkel and the Burins made Stanford pay 18 seconds later when Rulon fired a cross pass to Jessica Lopez, who beat Frank to tie the score, 2-2.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday May 13, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 40 words Type of Material: Correction
Water polo -- It was incorrectly reported in Sports articles Sunday and Monday that UCLA won the NCAA women's water polo championship in 2002 and that Stanford won it in 2001. UCLA won the title in 2001, Stanford in 2002.

Champion was disqualified after receiving her third foul early in the fourth quarter and Maureen Flanagan found Lauren Heineck open in front of the cage and she slapped the ball past Frank for a 3-2 lead.

UCLA stopped the Cardinal on a man-advantage situation on its next possession and Robin Beauregard had a key insurance goal a minute later.

Stanford cut the lead to 4-3 on Kelly Luber's counterattack goal with 1:40 left, its only shot on goal in the last quarter. The Cardinal began another extra-man situation with about a minute left, but Lauren Faust's pass into the set hole was too high and Beauregard retrieved the ball with 35 seconds to play. Stanford only converted one of six extra-man opportunities.

"The five on six is all about attitude," Beauregard said. "If you're down a man, you have to hustle that much harder."

The Cardinal got the ball back once more with 7.4 seconds left, but Brenda Villa's final shot went wide.

The difference between the two halves surprised both coaches.

"I thought we were in trouble, no question," said UCLA Coach Adam Krikorian. "I thought it was very important to get off to a good start. When that didn't happen, I knew we had the potential and ability to come back, but was worried about our psyche."

Tanner thought his team was lethargic after building a two-goal lead.

"We're extremely disappointed to have control of the game through the first half and then relinquish that momentum and give up a chance to put them away," Tanner said. "If we go up 3-0, there is no chance they come back."

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