USC Gets Defensive, Moves To MPSF Semis
April 27, 2012
STANFORD, CALIF. - The No. 3 USC women's water polo team pitched a near-shutout today in the MPSF first round with an 8-1 win over No. 6 seed San Jose State. With Olympian-to-be Flora Bolonyai back in the cage, the Trojan defense was clicking, and the offense kicked into gear in the third period to put the Spartans out of reach. Now 20-4 overall, USC advances to face rival UCLA tomorrow in the MPSF semifinals at 4 p.m. at Stanford's Avery Aquatic Center.
USC missed on its first 6-on-5 chance of the game, but got a defensive boost at the other end with a decisive save from Bolonyai against a San Jose State counterattack. Colleen O'Donnell would clock in with the first goal of the day for the Trojans with a quick finish to a USC 6-on-5 opportunity, and after a couple USC field blocks on the defensive end the Trojans would go up 2-0 on a Patricia Jancso goal with 26 seconds to go in the first.
San Jose State got on the board and tightened things to 2-1 with a crosscage score from Anna Natalizio early in the second frame, but Bolonyai took the wind out of the Spartans' sails a bit later with a 5-on-6 save to keep it a one-goal game. In the last minute before the break, USC got up on another 6-on-5 and then got to the 5-meter penalty stripe when the Spartans' excluded player failed to clear the field of play. Monica Vavic ripped in the penalty shot, and USC had a 3-1 lead for halftime.
The Trojans were all business on both ends in the third. Madeline Rosenthal earned another 5-meter penalty shot for USC, and Vavic drilled another. Vavic would next set up Nicolina McCall for a bar-in goal that boosted USC ahead 5-1 just two minutes into the third period. Minutes later, a blast from Jancso pumped the Trojan advantage to 6-1, and then Dominique Sardo slotted a one-on-one score through to make it 7-1 Trojans. Again, Bolonyai would back up the Trojan defense with another timely save against a San Jose State 6-on-5, and USC kept the Spartans silent in the third. In the fourth, both teams traded 6-on-5 opportunities, but only the Trojans would make good. On USC's first advantage of the frame, Sardo hit Blair Moody for a bullet that took USC to an 8-1 lead. The rest of the power plays would surprisingly pass scorelessly both teams. USC senior goalie Morgan Vickers took over the cage late in the game and preserved USC's second-half shutout with a 5-on-6 save that wrapped up the day's action for the Women of Troy.
USC is looking for its first win of the year over UCLA in tomorrow's semifinal clash. The Bruins have edged out the Trojans in one-goal decisions twice this season. USC and UCLA will face off tomorrow (April 28) at 4 p.m. in the MPSF Semifinals at Avery Aquatic Center in Palo Alto.
MPSF TOURNAMENT (Stanford, Calif.)