No. 1 USC Surges Into Triton Invitational Semifinals
Feb. 8, 2014
SAN DIEGO, CALIF. -- The No. 1 USC women's water polo team's mission is clear. The Women of Troy are bound and determined to defend their 2013 NCAA Championship, and today USC made a statement in two powerful wins to open the 2014 campaign. Playing in group action at the Triton Invitational at UC San Diego, the Trojans kicked off the year with a 26-2 win over Sonoma State before blanking Cal State Northridge 13-0 for the sixth shutout victory in program history.
USC's last shutout was also against Cal State Northridge - a 14-0 win in 2009. Before that, a shutout hadn't happened since 2002, when that Trojan team did it twice. Today, the Trojans' silencing of the Matadors followed a high-powered morning win over Sonoma State to kick off group play. There, the Women of Troy rocked a 16-0 lead before giving up a goal after 14 minutes of play. That made it a 16-1 USC advantage by halftime, with Monica Vavic having provided six goals in that span of time. That marked a new career high for the USC junior.
In the second half, several more Trojans got in on the scoring action. Freshman Stephanie Haralabidis had hit her first career goals as a Trojan with three strikes in the first half, joined by sister Ioanna Haralabidis with one in the same half while fellow freshmen Avery Peterson, Mikayla Tyler and Nikki Stansfield would also tally their first career goals on day one of competition with goals in USC's 26-2 win over Sonoma State. Sophomore Natalie Lavinsky also got on the board with her first career goal to get in on the big day for the Women of Troy, and senior Colleen O'Donnell tallied her first hat trick as a Trojan today. Freshman goalie Melanie Slater also saw her first action in the cage with an appearance in the fourth period of play, where she hauled in one save. She followed starter Flora Bolonyai, who played one frame with two saves, and Alegra Hueso, who had two periods of work with three stops for the Trojan cause.
With that first win in the books, USC moved on to face No. 16 Cal State Northridge in the afternoon to fight for a semifinal spot. USC left no doubts in that one. With Bolonyai making a 10-save stand in the cage, the Matadors were left scoreless in the game. Meanwhile, the Trojan offense had seven scorers get in on the action in building the 13-0 win. Kaleigh Gilchrist led the charge with four goals, while Jayde Appel added a hat trick to further power up the Trojans to victory.
USC will now move into an 11:10 a.m. semifinal tomorrow (Feb. 9) against Arizona State to play for the ticket to the afternoon's title match in San Diego.
2014 TRITON INVITATIONAL (San Diego, Calif.)
GROUP PLAY - Feb. 8
GROUP PLAY - Feb. 8