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UCLA defends women's water polo title

DAVIS, Calif. -- Courtney Mathewson scored from 10 meters
away with 1 second remaining Sunday to give UCLA its second
straight NCAA women's water polo title with a 9-8 victory over
top-seeded Southern California.

In the consolation game, Stanford beat Hawaii 8-5 for third
place. It's the second straight year the Rainbow Wahine (18-12)
finished in fourth place.

UCLA (29-4) has won the championship four times in the six years
since the NCAA started sanctioning the event. But the road was much
tougher this season for the Bruins than it was a year ago when they
went 33-0.

"This is probably the sweetest, but they're all pretty sweet,"
said UCLA's Thaila Munro, who won her third title. "I'm really
proud of Courtney for stepping up. There's nothing sweeter than
seeing your teammate rise to the occasion because you know that
comes from you and your teammates."

Matthewson scored the goal off a set play. Kelly Rulon, who
scored four goals Sunday and earned tournament MVP honors, drew a
foul with five seconds left. She left the ball for Mathewson, who
picked it up and beat goalie Whitney Morgan just inside the near
post.

"I kind of just shot it," Mathewson said.

Gabrielle Domanic added two more goals for UCLA. Molly Cahill
and Jillian Kraus also scored for the Bruins.

USC had tied the game with 30 seconds remaining, when Patty
Cardenas converted on a power play. Cardenas led the Women of Troy
with three goals. Brittany Hayes had two for USC, which lost three
of its last five games after opening the season 25-0.

After Mathewson's goal, Cardenas took a pass off the restart and
sent a shot from the middle of the pool that clanged off the
crossbar as time expired.

"It just didn't happen to be our day," said USC's Moriah Van
Norman, who had a goal but fouled out early in the fourth quarter.

UCLA was 5-for-11 on its power play, and held the Women of Troy
to just 2-of-17.

In the consolation games, Stanford beat Hawaii 8-5 for third
place. Host UC Davis topped Hartwick 12-10 in overtime to capture
fifth place. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps beat Marist 10-9 in the
seventh-place game.