LOS ANGELES -- Second-seeded UCLA advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA tournament on Friday afternoon with a 12-8 win against No. 7 UC San Diego at USC’s Uytensu Aquatics Center. The Bruins improved to 26-4 while the Tritons dropped to 27-11. UCLA will face the winner of No. 3 USC and No. 6 UC Irvine in the second semifinal at 8:15 p.m. ET on Saturday.UCLA was led by hat tricks from sophomores Rachel Fattal and Alys Williams. Alexis Wieseler and Sarah Lizotte each had hat tricks for UCSD.
Unlike this year's earlier meeting where the Bruins trailed at halftime to UCSD and pulled out a two-goal win, the Bruins jumped out to an early lead and never trailed.
Senior Becca Dorst got the Bruins on the board first with a power play goal at the 6:40 mark of the opening period off a feed from Williams. Dorst scored her second to give UCLA a 2-0 lead (5:23) off a nice pass from sophomore Kodi Hill. The Tritons ended the first quarter scoring with an exlusion goal by Julia Kirkland with :27 left when Bruin goalkeeper, redshirt junior Sami Hill, was ejected.
The Bruins dominated the second-period scoring three goals while holding UCSD scoreless. Fattal put the Bruins up 3-1 with a counter attack score (6:23). Williams made it 4-1 (4:01) with a counter score off a feed from freshman Mackenzie Barr. The pair connected again at the 1:50 mark with Barr assisting Williams for her second score to give the Bruins a 5-1 lead at the break.
UCSD opened the third period, scoring back-to-back power play goals. The first was scored by Jolene Guiliana to make it 5-2 (6:30) and the second was a 6-on-4 score by Alexis Wieseler with 5:23 left But the Bruins go a huge goal at set from sophomore India Forster (4:49) to double up the Tritons at 6-3. Fattal then went to work, scoring from the front court off an assist by Kodi Hill (3:33) and on a power play goal (assist by junior Danielle Ferraro) with 2:50 left to complete a hat trick and end the scoring in the third with UCLA leading 8-3.
In the fourth quarter, Barr got in on the scoring act with a goal from distance, giving the Bruins a 9-3 advantage with 7:30 to go. UCSD's Sarah Lizotte had an immediate answer (7:19), scoring the first goal at full strength for the Tritons. Williams then completed her hat trick off the third assist for Kodi Hill to put UCLA up 10-4 at the 5:47 mark. Freshman Aubrie Monahan extended the lead to 11-4 with a goal from the front court with 4:55 to go. The Bruins then made a change in the cage as sophomore Alex Musselman played the final 4:55 of the fourth quarter. UCSD scored back-to-back power play goals (Lizotte, 4:32 and Wieseler, 3:51) to trim UCLA's lead to 11-6. Wiesler completed a hat trick with 1:56 left to pull the Tritons to within four goals. But Monahan scored her second of the game to push the lead to 12-7 with :53 remaining. UCSD's Lizotte capped a hat trick and the scoring with a goal with :42 left to provide the final 12-8 margin.
Sami Hill ended with 10 saves, allowing four goals in just under three and a half periods in the cage for the Bruins. Musselman picked up one save in the final 4:55 of the fourth while allowing four scores.
Courtney Miller was credited with nine stops in goal for the Tritons.