UCLA 7, Hawaii 6

May 14, 2005

ANN ARBOR, Mich. The No. 1 seeded UCLA scored a 7-6 come-from-behind victory over No. 4 seed Hawaii Saturday (May 14) in the semifinal of the NCAA Championship at the University of Michigan's Canham Natatorium to earn their fourth berth into the title match. Trailing 4-3 at the half, the Bruins outscored Hawaii 4-2 in the second half to secure the win.

UCLA jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead just two minutes into the game with goals by freshman Gabrielle Domanic and sophomore Kelly Rulon. Hawaii, however, answered with a three-goal run, including a pair of tallies by freshman Monika Kruszona to take a 3-2 lead with just 1:26 to play in the opening period. Each team notched a late tally in the final minute of the first quarter to make the score 4-3 in favor of the Rainbow Wahine at the end of the period.

The pace of the game slowed in the second quarter with neither team able to net a goal until senior Natalie Golda tied the game for UCLA with a penalty shot midway through the third quarter. Hawaii regained its lead with a marker from freshman Iefke Van Belkum at the 2:29 mark, but UCLA responded with a pair of goals before the end of the third quarter to take a 6-5 lead into the final period. Gabrielle found Rulon right in front of the cage for the equalizer with 56 seconds left in the third and then UCLA took the lead on a goal by junior Thalia Munro at the 0:25 mark.

Hawaii quickly tied the game with an outside shot from Anna Sieprath that made the score 6-6 with 4:19 to play in the game. Three minutes later, Kristina Kunkel scored the game-winner for the Bruins with a power-play goal from the left side of the cage that just slipped inside the near post. After stopping UCLA twice in the final minute of play, Hawaii's final attempt sailed over the crossbar, giving the Bruins the victory.

UCLA (32-0) will face the winner of No. 2 Southern Cal and No. 3 Stanford on Sunday (May 15) at 4:30 p.m. in the championship game, while Hawaii (21-10) will take on the loser of the Southern Cal/Stanford contest on Sunday (May 15) at 3 p.m. in the third-place match.


UCLA Head Coach Adam Krikorian
On the game ... "We got a lot of offensive opportunities but we turned the ball over too much in the beginning, trying to force it in the middle. We were a little rushed in the second half too. Defensively, we were bad but we settled and did an awesome job. They got four goals in the first quarter and just two after that. I'm happy with how we got it done and we get to play for a national championship."

On the Hawaii defense ... "They were tough and they had a good balance and mixed it up. We forced some things but I told the team that it doesn't matter how we win, as long as we advance. That's what the NCAA tournament is. Hawaii played us tough all year and this gives us a great opportunity to learn from our mistakes without a loss. We will take a lot from this win - more than if it had been an easy victory."

On the flow of the game ... "We were up 2-0 but they did a good job of coming back and then taking the lead. We knew it wouldn't be easy with the NCAA atmosphere but it's all about advancing. It doesn't matter how you get there."

UCLA Junior Driver Thalia Munro
On playing with two penalties early ... "It's rare that I get two penalties so early in the game but my teammates stepped up like they always do. We had to face adversity together. It doesn't matter who gets kicked out or injured, we'll fight as a team to the end."

On the importance of the victory ... "Sometimes I get a little intense out there and it can pump up my teammates. I was stoked, that's all. I get stoked out there."

On holding a one goal lead with five seconds left ... "With five seconds left it's never over. I was yelling to my teammates that it wasn't over. My heart was beating so fast. We were happy that nothing strange happened at the end."

UCLA Senior Center Natalie Golda
On the game ... "I was more frustrated that the ball wasn't falling for us than anything. We played good defense and attacked well but the ball didn't go our way. We've come through a lot this season and this game was nothing new."

On holding a one goal lead with five seconds left ... "Anything can happen late in the game. We wanted to close it out and not let Hawaii hit one of their long shots."

Hawaii Head Coach Michel Roy
On the game ... "We played the best game ever. We came out solid even though any of them can score. If we play them 10 times they win nine of them. I told them that it doesn't matter if we win or lose, so go out and play the best that you can. We gave it our best shot and I am very proud of our team.

On his game plan to beat UCLA ... "We had to do outstanding things that had never been done. We had to check UCLA tight and have the best game of our lives. Our plan was to play confident and just go for it. We had chance and UCLA had to beat us. We had the lead and if they panic more or we put another goal in, who knows. I believe UCLA deserves to win the national championship, on paper at least."

On his standout players ... "My goalie played well and so did #18. #18 stole some balls and played excellent defense, while GOALIE made some great stops."

Hawaii Sophomore Goaltender Meike De Nooy
On the game ... "In the first quarter it took some time for us to get used to the pace of the game but we showed what we could do. Our mentality was to be so ready to do this. Whoever came into the game was on fire and we were all good-nervous out there."

On being the underdog ... "We were the underdogs to the public but it motivated us because we knew we were close to UCLA and could play with them.

On holding UCLA scoreless in the second period ... "I didn't realize it was zero goals in the second. I think our defense did so well because it looked both ways and they all helped each other out. It was a good team effort and I played my best game by far. I was very psyched up and I play my best that way."

Score by Periods 1 2 3 4 F
Hawaii 4 0 1 1 6
UCLA 3 0 3 1 7

Hawaii Goals: Monika Kruszona 2, Iefke Van Belkum 2, Anna Sieprath 2. UCLA Goals: Kelly Rulon 3, Gabrielle Domanic, Natalie Golda, Thalie Munro, Kristina Kunkel. Ejections: Hawaii 11, UCLA 6. Goalie Saves: Meike De Jooy (Hawaii) 11, Emily Feher (UCLA)

-- Courtesy Michigan