Nov. 26, 2011
LOS ANGELES, CALIF -UCLA's Paul Reynolds scored with 52 seconds left in the first three minute overtime period to lift the host Bruins to a 7-6 victory over Cal Saturday (Nov. 26) in the semifinals of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Tournament at UCLA's Spieker Aquatic Center. The Golden Bears (21-4) had one final chance at the end of the second three minute overtime period, but senior Luka Saponjic's shot missed with 27 seconds left in the contest.
Cal will next play Stanford for the tournament third place on Sunday, Nov. 27 at 1:30 p.m. The Cardinal had lost to three-time defending NCAA champion USC, 8-6, in the other MPSF Tournament semifinal. USC and UCLA play in the MPSF championship match at 3 p.m. with the winner earning an automatic berth into the NCAA Championship, Dec. 3-4 at Cal's Spieker Aquatics Complex.
The Bears' Charlie Steffens forced a five-meter penalty and Ivan Rackov sent the match against UCLA into overtime when he converted on the five-meter penalty shot with 22 seconds left in regulation. Rackov, the 2010 National Player of the Year, led Cal with two goals, while Luka Saponjic, senior Cory Nasoff, and sophomores Collin Smith and Giacomo Cupido also scored for the Bears. Junior goalie Justin Parsons finished with seven saves.
Rackov currently leads the MPSF in scoring with 70 goals in 24 matches.
The Bruins and the Bears were tied 1-1 after the first period when Cal's Smith scored with 3:01 in the opening period. But UCLA outscored Cal 2-0 in the second period on goals by Griffin White and Paul Reynolds for a 3-1 halftime lead. Both teams notched three goals in the third period, with seniors Saponjic, Nasoff and Rackov converting for the Bears.
Cal completed its comeback in the fourth period by shutting out the Bruins, 2-0. Cupido got the Bears within one with a goal at 5:32 left in the match, before Rackov completed the comeback in regulation with the help of Steffens forcing the five-meter penalty from inside two meters on UCLA's Bret Lathrope.
"It was a tough game for us today," said Cal coach Kirk Everist. "UCLA played well. We'll have to rebound quickly for tomorrow against Stanford."
On Friday No. 2-seeded Cal had defeated UC Irvine, 15-9, behind Rackov's five goals to advance to the semifinals.
The Bears' four losses this season have all been by one goal - including 6-5 to UCLA Sept. 18 in the semifinals of the NorCal Tournament in Stockton, 10-9 in overtime to Stanford Oct. 2, and 9-8 in sudden death overtime to USC Oct. 15 at Cal. Cal has two victories over Stanford this season, 8-7 on Sept. 18 in the third place match of the NorCal Tournament, and 11-4 Nov. 19 in the Big Splash at Stanford.
UCLA 1 2 3 0 1 0 - 7
California 1 0 3 2 0 0 - 6
UCLA Goals: Griffin White 2, Paul Reynolds 2, Brett Hays, Paul Pickell, Josh Samuels
UCLA Saves: Matt Rapacz 9
California Saves: Justin Parsons 7