No. 3 USC Powers Past San Jose State For Fifth At MPSF Tournament
April 27, 2014
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - The No. 3 USC women's water polo team kicked into high gear in today's fifth-place clash with San Jose State at the MPSF Tournament, roaring out of reach of the No. 5 seeded Spartans with an explosive 21-9 victory at Uytengsu Aquatics Center. Nine Women of Troy ripped into the back of the net today, led by a four-goal outing from Monica Vavic and hat tricks from Jayde Appel, Jennifer Stiefel and Kelly Mendoza. USC improves to 24-3 overall with the victory, now awaiting the seeding selections for the coming NCAA Tournament, which the Trojans will also host at Uytengsu Aquatics Center, from May 9-11.
After taking a tough sudden-death loss to Arizona State in the opening round of the MPSF Tournament, the Women of Troy have regrouped and left no doubt of their strength and ability to defend their 2013 NCAA Championship. USC scored 22 goals yesterday against Bakersfield and added another 21 today against San Jose State. USC has now amassed 409 goals this season - third most in program history - as it looks to make an 11th consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.
In today's fifth-place game, the Trojans were steeled for battle. San Jose State stayed in early stride with USC, matching Kaleigh Gilchrist and Colleen O'Donnell's opening goals to make it a tight 2-2 midway through the first frame. The Spartans had it as a one-goal game with 1:47 left in the first, only to see USC strike out on a four-goal surge. Gilchrist's second goal was followed by back-to-back goals from Kelly Mendoza, and a save from Flora Bolonyai helped feed a Monica Vavic finish that took the Trojans out to an 8-3 lead early in the second. During a string of 6-on-5 opportunities, the Spartans and the Trojans would trade scores. That is, until Jayde Appel ripped in two power play blasts from the post to carry USC to an 11-5 halftime lead.
The Spartans still had fight in them in the third frame, plugging in back-to-back goals that would make it a five-goal margin, trailing the Trojans 12-7 with 2:44 left in the third. USC crafted a decisive statement next, though, scoring seven unanswered goals. Vavic and Stephania Haralabidis each delivered a pair of goals during that surge, and Olivia Cummins topped it off when she nabbed a steal on the defensive end and went coast-to-coast for the finish and a 19-7 USC lead. San Jose State broke almost eight minutes of scoring silence next, but USC's Jennifer Stiefel would have the last word. She'd add two more goals before the final buzzer to wrap up a 21-9 victory for the Women of Troy.
The NCAA selection show is set for tomorrow (April 28) at 5 p.m. on ncaa.com.
2014 MPSF Women's Water Polo Tournament
5th Place Game