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No. 1 Stanford Travels To Face No. 2 UCLA With MPSF Title On The Line

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The biggest game this weekend features No. 1 Stanford Cardinal traveling to Los Angeles to take on No. 2 UCLA Bruins for the MPSF regular season crown, and the top seed in the MPSF tournament.

This game could also be a preview of the MPSF title game and maybe even the NCAA championship. The game is at 6:30 p.m. PT so if you are in the area definitely go check it out, if not UCLA will have an audio broadcast of the game.

UCLA is 5-1 in MPSF play while Stanford is undefeated at 6-0, and the two schools have split their prior two games. Stanford easily won the first match 9-5 back on Feb. 5 and then UCLA won the next time they met which was at the 2012 UC Irivine Invitational where UCLA won 5-4 in the title game.

UCLA head coach Brandon Brooks knows how key this game against Stanford is:

"We've got to mentally prepare for the battle," coach Brandon Brooks said. "This is No. 1 versus No. 2 and it's going to be a very important game, a very high-level game, hopefully a game we should be ready to compete in. We're going to see where we stand."

For UCLA to get the win they need to replicate what they did in their last game which is to slow down Stanford's offense and make the game a low scoring matchup. Only four of Stanford's 21 games have they been held to less than 10 goals, and two of those came against UCLA, so holding Stanford under 10 will be a challenge.

One issue that could hurt UCLA is their 6-on-5 offense that converted only 2-for-10 in UCLA's last game which was 7-6 sudden death overtime win against LMU.

The thing that makes Stanford so good is that they have a balanced scoring attack and do not rely on just one or two players, in fact Stanford has six players in the top 25 of goal scorers in the MPSF while UCLA has only two players in the top 25. However, UCLA has K.K. Clark has 46 goals and averages 2.30 per game which is second best in the MPSF.

The goalie position is also extremely key and both UCLA and Stanford have two of the best in Caitlin Dement for UCLA and Kate Baldoni for Stanford. Each are No. 2 and No. 3 in the MPSF. Dement averages 9.56 saves per game while Baldoni is just under 10 at 9.94 saves per game. These two players are the main reason why neither team is likely to score more than 10 goals on Saturday afternoon.

Cal is the only MPSF team who beat UCLA which was an 8-6 win for Cal, but Stanford had no issues in beating Cal just last weekend 11-5. Stanford has been the more dominant team over the past month by thrashing opponents while UCLA has had many close games.

My prediction is Stanford to win 8-5.

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