No. 1 USC Holds Strong To Beat The Bears 10-5
March 2, 2013
BERKELEY, CALIF. -- The No. 1 USC women's water polo team opened up what had been a tight game with a five-goal blitz in the third period to build a head of steam that would put No. 5 host Cal in a six-goal hole and keep the Bears out of reach while USC pushed out to a 10-5 win. The victory over the Bears keeps the top-ranked Trojans perfect on the year with a 13-0 overall record and a 1-0 start to MPSF play.
Cal broke up what was almost a fully scoreless first frame with a 6-on-5 strike in the final minute. USC would equalize and snap its dry spell on a power play blast from Jayde Appel early in the second, and Anni Espar clocked in with the go-ahead score for the Trojans with 3:10 to go in the half. The Bears pulled back even a minute later and that 2-2 lockup held up to halftime.
USC got to the back of the net first to open the second half of action on a 6-on-5 rocket from Monica Vavic to take a 3-2 lead for the Trojans. Nicolina McCall gave USC a 4-2 advantage a minute later with an even strike, but Cal followed with a finish on another Bear power play to make it 4-3 USC with 4:30 on the clock. USC's Dominique Sardo would solve things next, breaking free for a nifty lob that bumped USC back ahead by two, up 5-3 at 3:36. Vavic's second of the day came next and Kaleigh Gilchrist also got in on the scoring action, and the Trojans were enjoying a four-goal lead up 7-3 with 1:35 to go in the third.
Espar delivered a score out of the gates to keep USC's scoring streak going with a fourth straight goal to put the Bears behind 8-3. Cal stopped the run with a lob next, beating the shot clock to make it 8-4. Vavic buried a 5-meter penalty soon after to take more wind out of Cal's sails. USC would get up by six before Cal got another goal to go to make it 10-5 Trojans with 2:55 remaining, and that would hold for the solid USC road victory.
USC now returns home to host its first game of the season at Uytengsu Aquatics Center. The Trojans will host Arizona State for an MPSF matchup at 1 p.m. on Saturday (March 9).
#1 USC 10, #5 California 5
SAVES: Flora Bolonyai (USC) 7, Savanna Smith (CAL) 9.