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Right Place, Right Time

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Written by Andie Hagemann, USC blog contributor

No. 1 USC women's water polo has two matches remaining before the MPSF Championships. The Women of Troy host No. 2 Stanford this Saturday at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center in the last home match of the 2013 season, an opponent familiar to recent transfer Kelly Mendoza.

Mendoza-ASU-McG.jpgMendoza, a Bay Area native, transferred to USC by way of Cal this past year. "When I was originally deciding, it was between Cal and USC," Mendoza said. "It was a difficult decision but I eventually chose Cal based on my knowledge of the school and the program being from Northern California."

As a true freshman, Mendoza scored 27 goals for the Golden Bears during the 2011 season and was named to the MPSF All-Freshman Team. During her sophomore season, she tallied 16 goals.

"I think Cal was a great stepping stone but it wasn't the right decision. Being at USC, I am much happier and it is a better fit for me," said Mendoza, who has 16 goals already this season.

Mendoza chose to venture to Southern California because of the opportunity to play for head coach Jovan Vavic. "I was nervous coming in originally because I knew what Jovan was like. I knew that he could make me a better player and will make me a better player," Mendoza said. "He teaches us life goals and life lessons, preparing us for the real world. This really appealed to me and swayed my decision to come to USC."

Mendoza is enjoying her new role within the USC water polo program as a more secondary player. "Being a part of a team and having that team mentality is so much better and much more rewarding," Mendoza said. "If you are the star athlete, it's fun because you put the team on your back. When everyone is contributing, getting goals and steals, it is much more rewarding."

The junior is adjusting easily to USC and the team is on the verge of an undefeated regular season.

"It's extraordinary [to come in and be a part of this]. This team is very special and is special to me as well," Mendoza said. "They all have welcomed me with open arms and I really appreciate them. We all work super hard and that is showing in games. Hopefully we can keep the momentum going."

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