No. 3 USC Women Lock Up LMU In 20-6 Victory|
March 28, 2015
WESTCHESTER, CALIF. -- The No. 3 USC women's water polo team shrugged off an early rough patch and served up over 21 minutes of smothering defense to power past No. 17 host Loyola Marymount. The Lions had the Trojans in a hole on two occasions in the first frame, but USC manufactured a powerful antidote with a 15-goal surge paired with a defensive stand that saw goalie stop two 5-meter penalty shots during that oppressive rally. The win improves the Women of Troy to 18-2 overall.
The host Lions caught the Trojans off-kilter in the first eight minutes of action, answering two quick USC goals with a three-goal surge as LMU's shooters painted the corners to tear into the lead, up 3-2 with 2:25 to go in the first. Melissa Bergesen stood tall for a Trojan equalizer a minute later, only to see LMU's hot-handed Ivana Castro nail her third goal to take the Lions back ahead 4-3 seconds after. It would take a nicely crafted USC 6-on-5 series to pull the Trojans even again, as the ball went around the horn to Ioanna Haralabidis for the laser that made it 4-4 with 15 ticks left in the first.
Duly wakened by the tightly contested first frame, the Women of Troy soon found a solution, going on a seven-goal tear in the second period while silencing the Lions. Monica Vavic righted the ship with a counterattack finish to punch USC into the lead, and the Trojans stayed in a groove from there. Stephania Haralabidis converted on a 6-on-5 assist from Melissa Bergesen next, and then hammered home another goal less than a minute later. Vavic hit Eike Dabue for another counterattack punch, and USC was up 8-4 after barely four minutes of work in the second period. To add an exclamation point to the Trojans' defensive effort in the frame, freshman goalie Victória Chamorro came up huge in the cage. Facing back-to-back 5-meter penalty shots, Chamorro knocked down both to preserve the working shutout in the frame. Her impressive stand in goal provided a backbone for another USC scoring blitz, as USC scored three goals in the final 1:09 before halftime. Jayde Appel ripped in a backhand at that 1:09 mark, followed by a Bergesen finish off a forced turnover by Vavic and then capped by a Hayley McKelvey rocket with 32 seconds left in the half. That had USC up 11-4, and the Lions were reeling.
USC kept coming in the third, balancing stingy defense with some stinging goals. Vavic would wait out the LMU goalie to make it a 12-4 lead, and after USC squelched an LMU power play, the Trojans would take it the other way. Jennifer Stiefel zipped in a score to make it 13-4 with 4:35 on the clock, and two minutes after that freshman Brianna Daboub would get in on the scoring action with a crosscage zinger to net USC a 10-goal advantage, up 14-4. A nifty Chamorro save fed into another USC attack, this one capped off with a power move from Brigitta Games at two-meters to take the Trojans to a 15-4 lead on the way into the final period. Appel and Vavic would round out their hat tricks as USC's scoring frenzy continued, while Ioanna Haralabidis netted her second. Up to an 18-4 lead on the Lions, USC saw LMU break through on a 6-on-5 finish with 4:37 left to play. Alegra Hueso had spelled Chamorro to start the fourth period of play, and moments later the Trojans fired back. Daboub hit Nikki Stansfield for a blast that registered a 19-5 lead for the Trojans. LMU's Castro had one last perfectly placed shot left in her arsenal, it turned out, as she launched one out of reach of Hueso to make it 19-6. At the 1-minute mark, though, Stiefel sliced in another USC goal to get to 20 on the day. LMU would earn a 6-on-5 advantage with 35 seconds left, and Chamorro subbed back in to man the goal for the last series. The Lions would earn yet another 5-meter penalty shot during the possession, and Chamorro would knock down yet another impressive save to wrap the day as a 20-6 USC victory.
The Women of Troy head out to Bakersfield next for an MPSF matchup against CSU Bakersfield tomorrow (March 29) at 1 p.m.
#3 USC 20, #17 LMU 6