Six-Goal Surge Lifts No. 1 USC Past No. 8 San Jose State|
March 29, 2014
SAN JOSE, CALIF. -- The No. 1 USC women's water polo team shrugged off a slow start in San Jose today, manufacturing a six-goal surge that erased a three-goal deficit and put the Trojans in position for their 27th consecutive victory. USC finished off No. 8 host San Jose State with a 10-9 win that propels the Women of Troy to a 20-0 overall record and a 4-0 mark in MPSF play. USC now turns to face No. 3 Stanford tomorrow (March 30) in a rematch of the 2013 NCAA Championship game. The Trojans and Cardinal will clash at 5 p.m. in Palo Alto in a match to be televised by Pac-12 Networks.
The Spartans grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first three minutes before Madeline Rosenthal got USC on the board with a 6-on-5 strike at 4:38. That made it a one-goal game, but SJSU responded with the next two goals to put the top-ranked Trojans in a rare hole, down 4-1 early in the second period of play.
The wake-up call was heeded, and the Women of Troy went to work. The three-goal deficit lasted only 30 seconds, as Kelly Mendoza provided a spark, blasting a goal for the Trojan cause and starting a rally. Stephania Haralabidis, Colleen O'Donnell and Monica Vavic would answer the call and plug in scores to carry USC into the lead. O'Donnell delivered the equalizer and Vavic took the Trojans into the lead 27 seconds before halftime.
Holding a 5-4 lead at the break, USC kept coming. Mendoza and O'Donnell combined offensive forces again to make it a six-goal stretch for the Trojan, who would take a 7-4 lead midway through the third frame. The Spartans stopped the run next, only to see O'Donnell serve up her third goal of the day, followed by a bullet from Ioanna Haralabidis to pump USC to a 9-5 advantage during the third. The Spartans managed the next three goals to put pressure on the Trojans, pulling it to a one-goal game at 9-8 USC with 1:35 remaining in regulation. Stephania Haralabidis got USC a bit of breathing room with a score 20 seconds later, and USC was able to hang on. SJSU's Clara Espar Llaquet got one last goal to go for the Spartans with 14 seconds left, but USC held tight to the 10-9 advantage in the remaining time to lock in the road win. With 10 saves in the game, USC goalie Flora Bolonyai notched her ninth game with double-digit saves this season.
The Women of Troy now head to Palo Alto to take on Stanford at 5 p.m. on Sunday (March 30) at Avery Aquatic Center.
#1 USC 10, #8 San Jose State 9
SAVES: Flora Bolonyai (USC) 10, Katelynn Thompson (SJSU) 8.
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