UCLA clinches third place at national championship with win against Hawaii
BOSTON -- UCLA captured third place at the NCAA tournament with a 13-8 win against Hawaii on Sunday at Harvard's Blodgett Pool. Freshman Rachel Fattal led the Bruins with four goals and was named to the first-team All-Tournament team. She was the only Bruin named to the All-Tournament teams.
UCLA ended its 2013 season with an overall record of 28-7. Hawaii dropped to 22-11. UCLA is now 51-8 all-time in postseason play and 28-5 in NCAA championship competition.
"This is always a difficult game to play in," UCLA head coach Brandon Brooks said. "I thought my team did great. Emotionally and mentally, this game is much harder than it is physically. I thought we came to the game ready to play, which is good."
Sophomore Emily Donohoe got the Bruins on the board first when she converted a penalty shot on the first possession of the game (7:34). Senior Monika Eggens scored back-to-back power-play goals (6:17 and 4:18) to give Hawaii a 2-1 lead. Freshman Maddy McLaren then had a cross-cage score to tie it at two with 3:44 left in the first period.
The Bruins reclaimed the lead with a goal from sophomore Danielle Ferraro at the 1:52 mark. Eggens completed a hat trick with a penalty shot to knot it at three, but Fattal scored her first goal on a power-play skip shot to give the Bruins a 4-3 lead at the end of the first period.
Junior Kelly Ronimus opened the second period with a power-play goal to push the lead to 5-3 at the 6:41 mark. Hawaii came storming back to take a 6-5 lead with three unanswered goals. Emily Carr had a one-timer on a 6-on-5 opportunity and then Caity Lopes da Silva scored on a counter attack. Eggens scored her fourth of the game on a penalty shot with 2:04 left in the second quarter. Junior Becca Dorst evened the score at six with a rebound off a power-play shot by Donohoe. Fattal then gave the Bruins a 7-6 lead heading into halftime with 15 seconds remaining in the first half.
"In the first half, nerves were in play," Hill said. "It is a really hard game to play after coming back from [Saturday], having a hard game against Stanford. I think reading the defense and being where we were supposed to be in the second half was really helpful."
Freshman India Forster gave the Bruins an 8-6 lead after she scored a power-play goal off a feed from Fattal with 6:05 left in the third period. Dorst scored the eventual game-winning goal when she made a move at two meters, beating a double team, to put the Bruins up 9-6 (4:07). Amarens Genee cut the lead to 9-7 with a power-play goal at the 3:23 mark of the third.
Fattal opened the fourth on a power-play strike, completing a hat trick and giving the Bruins an 11-7 lead. Then senior Gisselle Naranjo drew a penalty shot and Fattal converted it for her fourth score of the game as UCLA led 12-7 with 5:29 remaining. Freshman Alexa Tielmann scored for the Bruins with 1:31 to go as Hawaii pulled its goalie on a power play. After a stop by the Bruins, Tielmann's shot from distance trickled into the goal. Zoe Respondek ended the scoring at 13-8 with a long-distance lob shot over Hill with three seconds on the clock.
"We had good attempts [Saturday] and [Sunday] we had the same," Fattal said. "But [Sunday] we finished our shots, which is always key."
Hill, a sophomore, played the entire game in goal for UCLA and recorded 13 saves. Amy Carlson also played the entire game in goal for Hawai'i and was credited with nine saves.
UCLA was strong on power plays, shooting 6-for-7 while Hawaii was 4-for-9 on its 6-on-5 opportunities. Both teams scored twice on penalty shots, going 2-for-2.
Donohoe led UCLA in scoring in 2013 with 70 goals, which tied for third in UCLA history. Kelly Rulon scored 70 goals during the 2005, 2006 and 2007 seasons. Fattal was second on the squad with 68 goals, which ranks seventh in school history. Hill ended up crushing the UCLA saves record with 314 this season, which was 50 more than Caitlin Dement recorded during the 2010 campaign (264).
"Coming into this year, this team had a lot of questions as to who was going to play what roles and where people were going to fit in," Brooks said. "We lost a few players along the way to injury and circumstances and this team battled forward and grew a lot. We play 12-13 people and seven of them plus a goalie are underclassmen. So to be clearly the third-best team in the country is solid moving forward. I think next year and the years after that, we will be very very good, which is where we expect to be."