LOS ANGELES – Freshman Roser Tarrago scored four goals but the No. 3 Cal women’s water polo team fell to No. 1 Stanford 12-8 on Saturday in the semifinals of the NCAA Championships.
Cal (20-9), playing in its third NCAA Tournament ever, will play in Sunday’s Third Place game against USC.
Tarrago helped the Bears get off to a fast start, scoring the first two goals of the game to stake Cal to a 2-0 lead with 4:09 left in the first quarter. After the Cardinal (24-1) came back with two goals of its own, MPSF Newcomer of the Year Dora Antal scored with 24 seconds left in the first period to put the Bears back in front 3-2.
Stanford scored two quick goals early in the second period to go out in front 4-3, but Cal tied it up on a nice touch shot by junior Kelly McKee on a 6-on-5, with senior Ashley Young making the feed for the score. The Cardinal got two late goals in the second period to take a 6-4 advantage at halftime.
Stanford scored the first goal of the third period, but Tarrago came right back with an answer and it was 7-5. The Cardinal then opened up some breathing room with three consecutive goals midway through the third period to lead 10-5.
Cal got one back when Tarrago tapped in a lob pass by Tiera Schroeder from point-blank range to cut it to 10-6 with 6:08 left in the game. The Cardinal scored two in a row, followed by two by the Bears to close out the scoring.
The Bears will be looking for their second third-place finish at the NCAA Championships on Sunday. Cal placed third in 2010 and second in 2011.
Stanford 12, Cal 8
Cal 3 1 1 3 – 8
Stan 2 5 3 2 – 12
Stanford Goals: Maggie Steffens 3, Annika Dries 2, Kaley Dodson 2, Gupreet Sohi, Kiley Neushul, Ashley Grossman, Kelsey Suggs, Anna Yelizarova.
Cal Saves: Madeline Trabucco 4
Stanford Saves: Gabby Stone 9.