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UCLA downs Hawaii


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POSTED: Saturday, April 25, 2009

Foul and hope for a steal. Foul and hope for a steal.

It was all sixth-seeded Hawaii could do in the final 31 seconds of its opening game of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championship water polo tournament yesterday. It ended up being 31 seconds of frustration and futility for the Rainbow Wahine, who dropped an 8-7 decision to third-seeded UCLA at the Duke Kahanamoku Aquatic Center.

Hawaii falls into the consolation bracket, with no hope of finishing higher than fifth. The Wahine must win the next two—starting with today's 4:30 p.m. game against San Diego State—to keep their hopes of an NCAA at-large berth alive.

“;We know what we have to do,”; Hawaii sophomore goalie Serena Bredin said. “;It was a really good game today. I wanted this so badly.”;

Bredin gave it her all, finishing with 12 saves, and impressing the opposing coach.

“;It's the best I've seen her play,”; UCLA coach Adam Krikorian said. “;She was unconscious the first quarter.

“;At the same time, I don't feel we shot the ball with a lot of intelligence. I'm proud of the way our girls settled down after the first quarter.”;

UCLA, the four-time defending national champion, takes on second-seeded Stanford in today's second championship bracket semifinal. The Cardinal powered past the Aztecs 13-9 yesterday.

Top-seeded USC moved on to today's 6 p.m. semifinal with a 12-6 win over No. 8 seed Arizona State. The Trojans face fourth-seeded Cal, which topped fifth-seeded San Jose State 12-8.

San Jose State and Arizona State meet in today's 3 p.m. consolation semifinal.

Hawaii led for all of 70 seconds against UCLA yesterday, with sophomore driver Saara Majuri skipping in a goal early in the second quarter for a 2-1 lead. The Bruins answered back with three goals in less than a minute, two by Priscilla Orozco—the sophomore finished with a game-high four.

UCLA capitalized on a breakdown of Hawaii's passing and extended the margin to 8-4 at the end of the third. The Wahine switched to a pressure defense in the fourth but were unable to cash in until midway through the quarter. Leonie Van Der Molen, UH's leading scorer, finally broke free for two goals that brought the Wahine to within 8-6.

The Bruins were content to run down the 35-second shot clock, several times stalling at mid-pool without taking a shot. Carmen Eggens scored the Wahine's final goal on a power play with 31 seconds to go, but time ran out on Hawaii's upset bid.

“;They have a very good team and they played well, but we gave them three easy goals, one on a swim-off, which should never happen,”; Wahine coach Michel Roy said. “;We had a few bad passes and they took advantage.

“;The most important game for us is San Diego (State). We can't just show up, we have to show up and play hard.”;

The Wahine beat the Aztecs twice this season, 9-5 and 11-9.

“;Playing Hawaii in Hawaii in the conference tournament was a huge challenge,”; said UCLA assistant Brandon Brooks (Punahou '99). “;To come away with a win despite struggling offensively was great for us.”;