USC Finishes Fourth At MPSF Tournament After Loss To Top Seed Stanford|
April 26, 2015
TEMPE, ARIZ. -- The No. 3 seeded USC women's water polo team wound up with a fourth-place finish in the MPSF Tournament after taking a 9-6 loss to top seed Stanford in today's third-place game at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Complex in Tempe, Ariz. The Trojans had a one-goal lead at halftime, only to see the Cardinal find a second-half spark to make the move to victory. With a 22-5 overall record, USC now awaits the NCAA selection announcement, to be released at 5 p.m. tomorrow (April 27) on ncaa.com.
USC had a solid first half, opening up with a Monica Vavic interception against a Stanford 6-on-5 opportunity. The Trojans would respond with a 6-on-5 finish of their own, as Melissa Bergesen took a feed from Vavic and blazed it through to take USC to a 1-0 advantage. The Cardinal would even the score in getting on the board about a minute later, but USC kept coming. Goalie Victória Chamorro sailed a pass down to Vavic on the counter, and she'd hit freshman Brianna Daboub. Daboub made the most of her opportunity, fizzing in a bar-in strike to nudge USC back ahead, up 2-1 with 3:41 on the clock. The Cardinal would equalize again on a skipper at 2:04, and that 2-2 lockup would hold through to the end of the frame.
In the second, Stanford snagged its first lead with a score from the post, and then added to the advantage with a 6-on-5 finish, going up 4-2 on the Trojans. USC settled right back in and got in a groove. The Trojans manufactured a three-goal rally to steal back into the lead. Stephania Haralabidis laced in a shot toward the far post, and Daboub beat the keeper to the ball, shoving it home to bring USC within one. Less than 30 seconds later, USC was back on the attack and this time Stephania Haralabidis got to the back of the net without the extra push. Haralabidis' laser pulled the game even again, locked at 4-4 with 3:27 on the clock. The teams would trade field blocks for the next stretch, and minutes later Haralabidis nabbed a steal. She'd later send in the set-up for Brigitta Games at set, and Games made the power move and the finish to get USC back into the lead with 22 seconds left in the half.
USC would take that 5-4 advantage into the second half of action, and Chamorro would open the third period with two big saves. Stanford managed to loft in a lob on the counterattack later, though, and the game was snarled at 5-5. A 5-meter penalty shot was awarded to the Cardinal later, giving Maggie Steffens the opportunity to give Stanford the lead. She'd get it done, and the Cardinal was up 6-5 with 5:39 on the clock. Daboub threw up a field block on the defensive end, but minutes later Stanford would get to the back of the cage, taking a 7-5 lead with 1:40 left in the third. On USC's next possession, though, Eike Daube earned a 5-meter penalty for the Trojans. Vavic stepped up for the take and the make, and it was back to a one-goal margin at 7-6. That would be as close as the Trojans could get the rest of the way, however. Stanford would get back-to-back scores out of 2-meters to build a 9-6 lead during the fourth frame. USC rattled the post on several occasions, but was unable to break through at all in the final stretch, taking the 9-6 loss to wrap the tournament in fourth place.
2015 MPSF TOURNAMENT (Tempe, Ariz.)
SAVES: Victória Chamorro (USC) 9, Gabby Stone (STAN) 9.