BERKELEY – Freshman Dora Antal scored on the first possession of sudden death overtime to lift the fourth-seeded Cal women’s water polo team to an 8-7 victory over sixth-seeded Arizona State on Sunday in the Third Place Game of the MPSF Championships at USC.
The victory almost assuredly secures a spot in the NCAA Championships for the Bears (19-8). Selections will be announced Monday at 5 p.m. PT.
Antal, the MPSF’s leading scorer, fired a rocket as the shot clock was winding down that found the upper right corner of the goal, setting off a celebration for the Bears. The Sun Devils had tied it at 6-6 with four seconds left in regulation.
The teams played two 3-minute overtimes before heading to sudden death. Arizona St. took a 7-6 lead with 1:38 remaining in the second overtime but Cal freshman Roser Tarrago scored an equalizer with one minute left.
The Bears held the Sun Devils scoreless until 57 seconds remained in the first half, when an ASU goal cut Cal’s advantage to 2-1. It remained that score at halftime.
After the Sun Devils tied it at 2-2 early in the third quarter, the Bears scored three unanswered goals to lead 5-2 heading into the final period. After the teams traded goals early in the fourth quarter, Arizona St. scored three in a row to force overtime.
The third place finish is Cal’s best showing in the MPSF Tournament since winning the championship in 2011.
Antal finished with a hat trick and now has 71 goals this season, which is the fourth-best mark all-time at Cal. Sophomore Pippa Saunders added two goals, her first multiple-goal effort since Jan. 24 against Concordia. Freshman goalie Madeline Trabucco registered 13 saves.
Cal 8, Arizona State 7
ASU 0 1 1 4 0 1 0 – 7
Cal 1 1 3 1 0 1 1 – 8
ASU Goals: Izabella Chiappini 2, Ao Gao, Liz Kreek, Daisy Carter, Kate Enoka, Anna Kertes.
ASU Saves: E.B. Keeve: 16.
Cal Saves: Madeline Trabucco 13.