Cal women’s water polo’s first game in the MPSF championships, scheduled for April 22 against Arizona State, was canceled. The two teams that were left for the Bears to face were USC and UCLA — both games took place this past weekend at Uytengsu Aquatics Center in Los Angeles.
The Bears and the Trojans went up against each other April 23, trading goals up until the last quarter of the game. At that point, USC earned a lead and defeated Cal 10-8.
Senior Emma Wright, a member of the Canadian national team and an Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches second team All-American, competed outstandingly. Wright’s three goals were also the Bears’ first three possessions of the game.
Goalie Isabel Williams continued to block shots. Just before halftime, Williams stopped an impressive attempt on goal by USC All-MPSF senior Bayley Weber, which prevented USC from gaining a 1-point lead. This consequently left the game at a standstill tie of 5-5.
Williams contributed 10 saves against USC, standing solid for Cal’s cage. The blue and gold played without two key attackers: Elli Protopapas and Maryn Dempsey, who are recovering from injuries. In tandem, they have scored 35 total goals this season.
Nevertheless, the Bears handled their loss well.
Cal faced UCLA on April 24 for the third game and its second game of the MPSF championships. The teams traded goals, but it was the Bears who gained a 4-0 advantage in the first quarter. UCLA did not score until late into that quarter. Following two successful penalty shots made by UCLA, the score at halftime was 6-4.
At no point during the game did the Bruins stand with the advantage. Cal defeated UCLA more handily than the scoreline would suggest, 10-9.
This was a memorable game for Wright, who scored five goals and tallied two assists against UCLA. Wright’s contributions during this game earned her fourth place on Cal’s all-time scoring list with a grand total of 202 goals during her collegiate career.
Williams blocked 14 shot attempts by UCLA, totaling her save count to 223 this season. Such exemplary work earned her an All-MPSF first team title, awarded to her just last week.
The Bears are off to a great end to their season, which will wrap up after next month’s NCAA championship in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Tune in on NCAA.com from May 6-8 to support the teams who have made it so far this season.