WWP: UCLA’s win sets up Bruins-Trojans semifinal

Tiera Schroeder beats three defenders and the Arizona State goalie in the fourth quarter at this weekend's NCAA Championship. (Neushul Photos)

Tiera Schroeder beats three defenders and the Arizona State goalie in the fourth quarter at this weekend’s NCAA Championship. (Neushul Photos)


Day one of the largest and most talent-filled NCAA tournament in the history of women’s water polo featured ten Santa Barbara Water Polo alumni many of who made themselves heard in the opening round. UCLA’s Sami Hill erected a wall in the cage vs. Leah Gonzales and Laurel Kistler of UCSD. The 2014 Cutino Award nominee blocked ten shots in just over three quarters of play and the Bruins beat the Tritons 12-8. Kodi Hill dished out three beautiful assists to a trio of Bruin scorers whose fast break offense was too much for the Tritons. UCLA is now 26-4 and will face third seeded USC at 5:15PM on Saturday. The Bruins split games with the defending NCAA champions this season. In their MPSF league game Sami Hill stifling the Trojan offense and handed USC (25-3) their first ever home loss at the new Uytengsu Aquatics Center. UCSD falls to 27-11 and will face sixth seeded UCI at noon.

O’Brien and Neushul are casted together

Jamie Neushul, left, with former SBWPC teammate Amanda Redfern.

Standford’s Jamie Neushul, left, with former SBWPC teammate Amanda Redfern, who plays for Indiana University.

Bruin attacker Kelsey O’Brien was in the mix during the fourth quarter helping stifle a UCSD rally but suffered a spiral fracture in her right hand while defending at center forward. O’Brien joins former SBWPC teammate Jamie Neushul (attacker/Stanford) on the injured list. Neushul, who was named to the 2014 MPSF Newcomer team, fractured her right hand in practice two days before the tournament and was not cleared to play. Together, O’Brien and Neushul won Junior Olympic titles at 12, 14, 16, and 18 age levels including two straight 18 titles from 2012 to 2013. Their teams are the most successful in the history of Santa Barbara Water Polo Club.

Stanford defends against the Hoosiers

Kiley Neushul and first seeded Stanford used a stifling defense to stop eighth seeded Amanda Redfern and the Indiana Hoosiers with a score of 18-2 in the first round. Neushul led the Cardinal with four goals. The score does not reflect the twelve extra player opportunities Indiana managed to generate because Stanford’s five on six defense blocked numerous shots and allowed only one extra player goal. Water polo teams strive for at least fifty percent on power plays. Stanford was 8 out of 9. Indiana will now face ASU at 1:45PM. Stanford will face third seeded Cal at 3:30PM.

Schroeder Ices the Sun Devils

Tiera Schroeder, Madeline Trabucco, and the Cal Bears faced the toughest match of the first round in fourth seeded ASU, a team studded with international stars including two-time Chinese Olympian Ao Gao. Schroeder helped Cal get off the blocks fast in the first quarter, driving for an ejection and then immediately dishing a beautiful assist to Roser Tarrago. Schroeder iced the game in the fourth quarter, beating three Sun Devil defenders with a fast break goal to go up 7-4. Schroeder’s goal was Cal’s only score in the second half. Madeline Trabucco was solid in goal for the Bears with 5 saves.

All of the NCAA matched are streamed live at NCAA.com beginning at noon on Saturday when Leah Gonzales, Laurel Kistler, and the UCSD Tritons face the Anteaters of UC Irvine.