2012 UC Irvine Invitational: UCLA Upsets No. 1 Stanford, 5-4

The UCLA Bruins won the 2012 UC Irvine Invitational and along the way upset the USC Trojans 8-7 in the semifinals and then upset the Stanford Cardinal 5-4 in the finals. The win for UCLA was redemption as they lost to Stanford earlier in the season by a wide 9-5 margin.

The way Stanford played leading up to the finals it seemed that they would be unstoppable in this tournament and possibly for the rest of the season. Stanford defeated UC San Diego 14-3, San Diego State 10-3 and Cal 13-5, so the loss really was an upset even though UCLA was ranked No. 3.

This defensive battle saw Stanford goalie Kate Baldoni make nine saves and UCLA goal Caitlin Dement had 14 saves in a winning effort. Plus neither team had more than a one goal edge throughout. Stanford got on the board first with a Ashley Grossman, but UCLA's Natasha Schulman scored the equalizer moments later to tie the game at one in the first quarter. The second quarter had each team net another goal to go into halftime at tied at two.

The third quarter looked like there was going to be some scoring when Stanford won the sprint and Jillian Garton tied the game on that opening possession. However, the lead last only a few seconds as UCLA was able to tie the game on the next possession when KK Clark was able to get her shot past Baldoni.

There were two more goals scored in the third quarter, the next was a lob shot by Kiley Neushul to one again put Stanford up on UCLA, this time 4-3, and of course UCLA responded on their next possession to tie the game when Emily Greenwood scored her only goal of the game to tie the game at four heading into the fourth quarter.

The defensive really came alive in the fourth quarter, but not after there was a penalty on Stanford's Garton. Clark made the shot which was he second goal of the game to put UCLA up for good in the fourth quarter. For the rest of the seven minutes in the fourth quarter neither team could make a goal.

UCLA had a chance to go up two goals but Clark missed another penalty shot that barred out with under 90 seconds left. Stanford has one last great opportunity to send the game to overtime when they drew an exclusion with seven seconds left, but Alyssa Lo's shot was blocked and with that UCLA won.

The live blog that UCI had was a great way to follow the game, and too bad they did not have a live stream of these games, because the finals was an outstanding game.

UCLA should likely move into the No. 1 once the latest CWPA poll is released next week after defeating the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country in USC and Stanford.

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