Dec. 4, 1999
LA JOLLA, Calif. - The Stanford water polo team, ranked second in the nation, battled back from a 3-0 first period deficit to score an 11-7 victory over seventh-ranked UC San Diego in the semi-finals of the NCAA Championships on Saturday before a pro-UCSD crowd of 2,019 fans at the Canyonview Pool.
For Stanford, it took two 2-point goals from Jonathan Skaalen (from nearby Coronado), to lead the Cardinal to victory.
Down 3-1 at the end of the first period, Skaalen rifled a two-point goal from point-blank range past UCSD goalie Glenn Busch to tie the game at 3-3 with 5:44 left in the second period. But UCSD fought back to take a 5-4 lead before Skaalen performed more hometown heroics for the Cardinal. Skaalen fired home his second 2-point goal of the game at 6:05 of the third period to give Stanford a 6-5 lead, the first of six third-period points for the Cardinal.
"Being from the San Diego-area, there were a lot of family and friends here to cheer me and the team," said Skaalen. "It would be great to end my college career with an NCAA title on Sunday, but it will be tough. UCLA will be tough to beat."
Stanford will face #1 ranked UCLA in the championship game. The Bruins defeated tenth-ranked Massachussets, 14-6, to earn the NCAA championship game against Stanford.
"We were tentative in the first period against UCSD," said Cardinal head coach Dante Dettamanti. "But we didn't panic. We didn't need to score in bunches, but getting two 2-point goals from Jonathan (Skaalen) helped a lot.
"UCLA and Stanford are very similar in style of play. We matchup very well with them. It should be a great championship game."
This will be the second straight year that Stanford will be in the NCAA championship game. Last year, USC scored a 9-8 double overtime over the Cardinal.
NCAA Final Four Semifinals (UC San Diego, Canyonview Pool)
Stanford (22-5) 1 3 6 1 = 11 UCSD (19-11) 3 2 2 0 = 7
Stanford scorers: Skaalen 4 (2, 2-point goals), Heifferon 2, Walburger 1, Dutton 1, Nesmith 1, Amott 1, Hudnut 1
UC San Diego scorers: Samuels 2, Boettner 2 (1, 2-point goal), Dandy 1, Beh 1, Wylie 1
Goalie saves: Ellis (S) 2, Busch (UCSD) 9
UCLA (21-3) 3 4 0 7 = 14 UMass (28-6) 0 2 1 3 = 6
UCLA scorers: Kern 4, Bailey 2 (1, 2-point goal), Wright 2, Wellen 1, Armato 1, Parker 1, Bailey 1, Plfueger 1, Brown 1
UMass scorers: Kain 2, Foley 2, Ramos 1, O'Neill 1
Goalie saves: Brooks (UCLA) 11, Huntley (UMass) 10