Women’s water polo: Stanford beats UCLA in NCAA championship thriller

After the UCLA women’s water polo team knocked off then-top-ranked Stanford in April, the Cardinal returned the favor and then some Sunday.

No. 2 Stanford scored a goal with nine seconds left to take down No. 1 UCLA 8-7 in the NCAA tournament championship in Indianapolis. It’s the third time in four years that the Cardinal has won a national title over UCLA.

Maggie Steffens was the hero for Stanford as she came away with a steal with 14 seconds left to squash UCLA’s potentially game-winning possession and then scored the title-clinching goal.

UCLA never led in the game and trailed by three goals twice, but came back to tie with 51 seconds left. Maddie Musselman‘s tying goal, her third of the game, also gave her the UCLA freshman scoring record with 69 goals this year.

The Team USA Olympian was named first-team All-Tournament, along with Rachel Fattal and Carlee Kapana. Alys Williams also scored three goals against Stanford.

Stanford is now tied with UCLA for the national lead in NCAA championships across all sports with 113. UCLA’s last NCAA title came in 2015 from the men’s water polo team. UCLA still has the winningest women’s water polo team with seven national titles, but has not won one since 2009.