No. 3 USC Secures Semifinal Spot Against UCLA With Two Wins Today At UCI Invite|
Feb. 21, 2015
CORONA DEL MAR, CALIF. -- The No. 3 USC women's water polo team established a balance of power today in the opening games of the UCI Invitational. The Trojans paired stingy defense with an effecting offensive attack in order to pin up two strong wins in group play and advance to tomorrow's semifinals. USC started things off with an 11-3 win over No. 18 UC Santa Barbara before serving up a 14-4 victory over No. 6 Arizona State. That victorious effort earns the Trojans a semifinal slot against No. 2 UCLA, set for tomorrow at 11:45 a.m. in Irvine, Calif.
USC set the tone with a solid first half of action against the Gauchos, but it was the final frame that really made a statement for the Trojans. USC held a 5-1 advantage by halftime thanks to a second-period shutout effort. The teams would match each other with a goal apiece in the next frame to make it a 6-2 USC lead entering the final period. That's where the floodgates burst for the Trojans, who rattled home five goals in the last eight minutes of play to put UCSB well out of reach for a final 11-3 victory. Eike Daube paced the Trojans in that one with a hat trick, with Monica Vavic adding a pair of goals and six other Trojans helping make for a balanced USC attack in the win.
Up against No. 6 Arizona State to fight for the right to a semifinal spot, the Trojans proved more than worthy. USC doubled its first-half output from the previous game in crafting a daunting 10-1 lead at the half. The second half would tighten up, but the Women of Troy had already exerted their control as they continued to keep the Sun Devils well out of reach in finishing out a 14-4 win. Vavic was the leader in this one, tallying a hat trick to go with two goals apiece from Melissa Bergesen, Hayley McKelvey and Jennifer Stiefel to lead a stack of nine USC scorers in the win. USC goalie Victória Chamorro registered eight saves in the winning effort.
Meanwhile, the career count for senior Monica Vavic continues its uptick. She entered this tournament needing 14 goals to tie as USC's all-time top scorer. Now with five more goals scored today, she now holds 246 career goals to sit nine away from the leader, Aniko Pelle, with 255.
UCI INVITATIONAL (Corona del Mar & Irvine, Calif.)
SAVES: Victória Chamorro (USC) 1; Brokaw (UCSB) 8.
#3 USC 14, #6 Arizona State 4
SAVES: Victória Chamorro (USC) 8; Rycraw (ASU) 9.