No. 1 USC Captures 12-7 Win Over No. 4 Cal
March 15, 2014
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The No. 1 USC women's water polo team lit up the Uytengsu Aquatics Center in its first televised game of 2014, spreading the scoring among seven Women of Troy to overpower visiting No. 4 California 12-7. The Pac-12 Networks were there to broadcast the game in the Trojans' new aquatics venue, and USC put on a strong showing to record its 22nd consecutive win and 15th straight this season. The defending NCAA champions are now 15-0 overall and 3-0 in MPSF play.
Cal made things interesting out of the gates in snagging the first lead of the game and getting ahead 2-1 after three minutes of play, but the Trojans peppered the Cal cage with four straight goals to tear into the lead by the close of the first frame. Madeline Rosenthal blasted two goals in the surge, with Eike Daube and Ioanna Haralabidis converting on Trojan 6-on-5 opportunities to lift USC into a 5-2 lead. Daube's strike off a feed from Kaleigh Gilchrist at the tail end of a power play gave USC its first lead of the game at 2:57, and the Women of Troy would stay in control the rest of the way.
The Bears pulled to within two twice during the second period of play, but USC had an answer for each Cal effort. Kelly Mendoza blazed in a score off a cross from Monica Vavic to give USC an 8-5 lead that would hold through halftime. The Trojans opened the second half of action with a defensive stand anchored by a stubborn Flora Bolonyai, who hauled in four straight saves for the Trojan cause. Mendoza let it rip on a USC 6-on-5 next to pad the lead out to four. Rosenthal gifted the Trojans another power play chance two minutes later, and Stephania Haralabidis continued her scoring tear with a slider that pumped USC up to an 11-5 lead. While the USC defense continued its shutout efforts, Gilchrist would rip off a searing backhand for her second goal of the game at 1:01 to get USC well out of reach of the Bears in taking an 11-5 advantage into the final frame.
Cal managed the first and last goals of the fourth period while Vavic hammered home one last power play for the Trojans as the game wrapped with USC holding at 12-7 victory.
The Trojans now head to Hawai'i to play a stretch of three games in Honolulu next week. USC faces Indiana on March 21 before playing a doubleheader on March 22 against Long Beach State and host Hawai'i.
#1 USC 12, #4 California 7
SAVES: Flora Bolonyai (USC) 12, Madeline Trabucco (CAL) 8.