Comeback Heroics For Undefeated No. 1 USC In 9-8 Win At No. 8 Hawai'i|
March 17, 2017
HONOLULU, HAWAI'I -- The top-ranked USC women's water polo team sweated out a tense road match in Honolulu tonight, making a fourth-period comeback push to cap off a 9-8 win over No. 8 host Hawai'i. The Trojans trailed by two goals in the second period and by one entering the fourth, but with the clock winding down it was USC's seniors who stepped up in the final moments. With the game tied up, some hard work from Brigitta Games got USC a 5-meter penalty shot with 19 seconds left. Stephania Haralabidis rifled it in, and USC had the lead in-hand, fending off the Rainbow Wahine to lock up the Trojans' 48th consecutive win -- adding to the new national record win streak that the Trojans set the previous night. USC is now 21-0 overall in 2017 with tonight's road win.
Stephania Haralabidis was an offensive constant for the Trojans once again. She plugged in five goals for USC in the win, striking the opening goal for the Trojans and then pouring on four goals in the second half, including the game-winner. Haralabidis' opener was answered by three straight scores from Hawai'i, and USC was playing catchup with the Rainbow Wahine for the next stretch. Kelsey McIntosh closed the gap to 3-2 during the second, but Hawai'i fired right back. Avery Peterson hauled her Trojans within one soon after, only to see the Rainbow Wahine again pad their lead. A bomb from distance by USC's Brianna Daboub had USC within one at halftime, down 5-4 to host Hawai'i.
In the second half, Haralabids made her stand. Games earned an ejection for the Trojans, and Haralabidis converted to pull USC even. Haralabids would hit again next, and USC had its first lead for the first time since early in the first period. Two more Hawai'i goals came next, putting USC behind once more, down 7-6 as the third period came to a close. In the fourth, Daboub whizzed in a power play goal to snarl it up at 7-7. After a defensive stop by the Trojans, USC came out of the timeout and had Amanda Longan hit Haralabidis for the go-ahead goal, up 8-7. A lob shot would make its way through for the Rainbow Wahine to bring up another tie, but that's when USC's last-minute heroics came through in the clutch, with Games getting USC the penalty chance and Haralabidis burying it for the game-winner.
USC now returns home to Uytengsu Aquatics Center for a long-awaited home stand of five games. On Thursday (March 23), USC will host Princeton at 5 p.m. in a nonconference clash televised by Pac-12 Networks. Then, USC sets up for a doubleheader on Saturday (Match 25), with a 1 p.m. MPSF matchup against San Jose State followed by a nonconference game against Hartwick at 2:30 p.m.
#1 USC 9, #8 Hawai'i 8
SAVES: Amanda Longan (USC) 13, Ymane Hage (UH) 4.