SAN DIEGO — Senior KK Clark scored four goals to lead the second-seeded UCLA Bruins past seventh-seeded Iona 14-3 in the opening round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament at San Diego State on Friday.
“As far as first games go at an NCAA tournament, it was an excellent victory for us,” UCLA Head Coach Brandon Brooks said. “In any first game, there’s a potential to play with a lot of nerves and too much excitement. I thought we did a good job with our composure and executed early, which makes all the difference.”
UCLA (22-3) scored on its first three possessions of the match and jumped out to a 5-0 lead and never looked back. Senior Sarah Orozco got the Bruins on the board first at the 7:42 mark, scoring from two meters. Then Clark made it 2-0 with 6:58 left in the first period, scoring on a counter attack. Orozco scored her second of the match on a two-on-one break to put UCLA up 3-0 with 6:19 left in the opening period. Freshman Emily Donohoe then made the score 4-0, scoring on a low penalty shot in the left corner at the 4:15 mark. Clark then scored her second of the first stanza on a power play goal to the right corner with 1:20 left to make it 5-0. Iona (24-12) would end the scoring in the first period with a goal by Mackenzie Mone with 1:07 left to trim the lead to 5-1.
Cecilia Leonard would pull Iona to within three goals, making it 5-2 on a skip shot that beat Caitlin Dement with 6:28 left in the second quarter. It was as close as the Gaels would get. Clark completed her hat trick just 10 seconds later to make it 6-2 with 6:28 to go in the first half. Then Orozco secured her hat trick from two meters to put the Bruins up 7-2 with 5:05 to play in the second period. Sophomore Becca Dorst scored on a counter attack with 3:59 left to make it 8-2 and junior Brooke Martin ended the first-half scoring with 1:24 left, scoring a power play goal from the left-hander’s spot.
The third period began with UCLA freshman goalkeeper Sarah Wilkey relieving Dement in the cage. Junior Gisselle Naranjo opened the scoring in the third period on a low skipper that found the back of the net in the left corner to put UCLA up 10-2 with an exclusion goal at the 7:35 mark. Then junior Emily Greenwood got in on the scoring party on a nice turn at two meters to make it 11-2 with 6:45 left in the third. Clark single-handedly outscored the Gaels with her fourth goal when her back-hander from two meters with 3:03 to go in the third period found the back of the net. Mone scored her second of the match for Iona, ending UCLA’s 7-0 scoring run, to make it 12-3 with 29 seconds left and beating Wilkey for the first time in the period. Sophomore Victoria Kent became the eighth different Bruin to score in the match, ending the third period scoring at 13-3, on a top corner shot with six seconds remaining that kissed the left post.
UCLA pulled its starters in the fourth period, a period that was dominated by UCLA’s defense, particularly the seven saves registered by Wilkey in goal that gave her 11 for the second half. Martin fed Donohoe for her second goal of the match on a power play opportunity to score the only goal of the fourth period with 6:25 remaining, giving the Bruins the 14-3 victory.
Dement registered five saves in the cage for the Bruins while Wilkey picked up 11 stops. Iona goalkeeper Marisa Gaynor recorded five saves.