No. 1 USC Captures First Crown Of 2014, Winning Triton Invitational Title
Feb. 9, 2014
SAN DIEGO, CALIF. -- The No. 1 USC women's water polo team opened the 2014 campaign on a winning note with a victorious run through the Triton Invitational in San Diego. The Women of Troy followed up yesterday's group play with a strong 10-4 win over Arizona State in today's semifinals before dealing out an 8-3 win over UC Irvine in the championship bout this evening.
USC's winning momentum -- carrying over from last year's NCAA championship run -- helped to propel the Trojans into the title match today. There, USC shrugged off an early score from UC Irvine and churned out five straight goals to put the Anteaters in a 5-1 hole during the third period of play. Freshman Stephania Haralabidis plugged in back-to-back goals for the Trojans during the run, and USC never looked back. After shutting out UCI in the second period of play, the Trojans allowed just a single score in the next two frames while they continued to build on their lead down the stretch. Monica Vavic delivered a second-half hat trick to keep USC's stockpile alive, and the Trojans finished up the game as an 8-3 victory to tally their first championship of the new season. USC goalie Flora Bolonyai opened the match with a 5-meter penalty save and would go on to record 11 stops in the match. That went along with a 10-save outing in the semifinal by the senior.
Against the No. 10 Sun Devils in that semifinal, the Trojans flexed their muscles after ASU made it a one-goal game on a 5-meter penalty shot in the first frame. Sparked by a score from Eike Daube -- who would finish with a hat trick -- the Trojans pumped out a four-goal run to a 7-2 lead. ASU's Izabella Chiappini stopped the run with her third goal of the half to make it a 7-3 USC lead at the break, but the USC defense would stiffen in the next two frames. Chiappini got one more to go for the Sun Devils, as she would finish as the only ASU player to score in the game, while USC's Daube, Jayde Appel and Madeline Rosenthal all got to the back of the net in the second half to ring up the 10-4 win and take the ticket to the title match.
The top-ranked Women of Troy will next head to Riverside for competition at the Lancer Invitational next week, Feb. 14-15.
2014 TRITON INVITATIONAL (San Diego, Calif.)
CHAMPIONSHIP - Feb. 9
SEMIFINALS - Feb. 9