No. 3 USC Collects 10-7 Win Over No. 5 Cal
March 31, 2012
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The No. 3 USC women's water polo team claimed its sixth straight win today with a 10-7 MPSF victory over visiting No. 5 California at McDonald's Swim Stadium. The Women of Troy fought off a second-period lockup by outscoring the Bears 6-1 in the next stretch to charge out of reach. Dominique Sardo would lead the scoring effort on the day with a hat trick for USC. The Trojans improve to 17-3 overall and 4-1 in MPSF play with today's win, while Cal goes to 16-6, 3-2.
Knowing the importance of the day's match in terms of MPSF standings and postseason implications, both teams were charged up for the contest. Cal had an answer for each of USC's opening scores, following Dominique Sardo's score on a 6-on-5 with an even blast from Elizabeth McLaren for a 1-1 tie, and then coming back from a go-ahead lob by Nicolina McCall at the close of the first with a 5-meter penalty finish from Breda Vosters that snarled the score at 2-2 with 6:04 on the clock in the second.
USC's offensive balance and defensive strength kicked into gear from there, however. Goalie Flora Bolonyai put a stop to five Cal shots in the second frame -- tallying half of her final 10 saves in that period -- while the Trojans blasted in four slick scores around another McLaren strike to take USC ahead 6-3 at the half. Kaleigh Gilchrist had delivered with a turn for inside water and the blast for a 5-2 lead before McLaren got to the back of the net for Cal. Monica Vavic had an answer soon after, however, with a slider to make it a 6-3 advantage.
Colleen O'Donnell rifled in a score from the top to open the third period, and Vavic would hit Chelsea Silvers for a nearside strike on a Trojan 6-on-5 minutes later to build that daunting 8-3 lead for USC. That cushion was enough for the Women of Troy to roll on to victory, although Cal was able to land the last three goals of the final period to close it out as a 10-7 USC win.
The Women of Troy have a NorCal road trip ahead next, with a trip to San Jose State set for 1 p.m. on Friday (April 6) before taking on Stanford at 1 p.m. on Saturday (April 7) in Palo Alto.
#3 USC 10, #5 California 7