No. 1 USC's Win Streak Snapped By No. 2 Stanford
April 13, 2013
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The No. 1 USC women's water polo team was dealt its first loss of 2013 in a 6-4 defeat at the hands of No. 2 Stanford. The Trojans handed the Cardinal its only loss of the year with a 13-10 decision earlier this season, making it a season split although Stanford now boasts the top seed for the coming MPSF Tournament thanks to today's win at USC's Uytengsu Aquatics Center. With a 20-0 start to the year blemished only slightly by today's loss, USC goes to 20-1 overall and is now 4-1 in MPSF play. Stanford is now 24-1, 4-0.
The Cardinal got the upper hand early in the game. Stanford managed to kick out to a 3-0 lead on the Trojans, while the Women of Troy seemed to find nothing but hardwood on their offensive series while falling into that three-goal hole. USC got on the board with 1:12 on the clock in the first frame, getting a bar-down blast from Colleen O'Donnell to make it a 3-1 Stanford lead entering the second frame. There, USC came up empty on the offensive end. Stanford, meanwhile, finished off a counterattack with a score to take back that three-goal advantage, and that 4-1 lead would hold through to halftime.
USC goalie Flora Bolonyai put a stop to a close-range try by the Cardinal on their first possession. Stanford, however, would take a four-goal lead later with a score from the post to put USC behind 5-1 at 5:53. Eike Daube would get USC up on a 6-on-5 later, and although the teams pulled even, the ball made it out to Anni Espar, who catapulted in the goal for the Trojans to break up 12 minutes of scoring silence from USC. Stanford was up 5-2 going into the fourth, where USC worked hard to get back in the game. Madeline Rosenthal helped the Trojan cause in earning a 5-meter penalty shot with 6:13 to go in the fourth. Espar promptly deposited the opportunity to the back of the cage, and it was a two-goal game. After O'Donnell nabbed a steal on the defensive end, Dominique Sardo found Monica Vavic on the ensuing attack. Under pressure, Vavic got the shot off as it trickle past Stanford goalie Kate Baldoni. But the deflection had taken the power away from the shot, and Baldoni was able to scoop the floater away from the line to hold USC off with 4:30 to go. Back on offense, Stanford earned a 6-on-5 and got the finish to put USC back behind by three with 2:45 to go. Stanford was content to drain the clock the rest of the way. Jayde Appel got USC up on a late power play, and Vavic converted quickly to make it 6-4, but there were just 34 ticks to go and the Cardinal won the day with the two-goal decision.
The Trojans are now in a fight to hold onto the No. 2 position in the MPSF standings with one week to go. USC will pay a visit to crosstown rival UCLA for a 5 p.m. clash on Friday (April 19) in Westwood to round out the regular season.
#2 Stanford 6, #1 USC 4
SAVES: Flora Bolonyai (USC) 5, Kate Baldoni (STAN) 8.