USC Fights Back For A Shot At Fifth
April 30, 2011
SAN JOSE, CALIF. - It was a tale of two halves once again for the USC women's water polo team, but this time the Trojans' second-half turnaround proved to be a successful comeback push at the 2011 MPSF Championships. After taking a loss to UCLA yesterday, the fifth-seeded Women of Troy went up against No. 8 seed ASU this morning at The Aquatic Center in San Jose, Calif. USC fell into another four-goal hole but was able to take a second-half stand that anchored the Trojans to a 10-9 win over the Sun Devils to push USC into tomorrow's fifth-place game. USC is now 17-6 overall.
The Trojans' morning matchup with the Sun Devils saw another sluggish start by USC. Much like yesterday's game against the Bruins, the Trojans found themselves staring at a 5-1 deficit after the first quarter of play. ASU had two players combine forces for its first seven goals of the day while the USC defense struggled to find its groove in the first half. The Trojans cut to within two as Kristen Dronberger pinned up a pair of goals and Sarah Van Norman and Dominique added to the count to make it 6-4 ASU with 1:45 to go in the half, but ASU lefty Lynlee Smith tucked one into the top corner before the close of the half to put USC behind 7-4 at the break.
USC's second-half turnaround was sparked by a three-goal Trojan run that finally pulled USC even with the Sun Devils. Sardo finished off a move in front of the cage to make it 7-5, and then the Trojan two-meter efforts paid off in the form of back-to-back 6-on-5 chances for the Trojans. The first advantage was earned by Sarah Van Norman, and the second came through the work of Kaleigh Gilchrist. Patricia Jancso finished off both the power plays for USC, locking things up 7-7 with 5:06 on the clock. The Sun Devils would keep the Trojans at bay by answering that run with a score out of set, then made good on a 6-on-5 chance of their own to follow another tie-up by the Trojans when Nadia Dan went nearside on another power play earned by Van Norman.
The senior would set up the Trojans with yet another chance to tie, and Jancso again rifled in the equalizer to push it to 9-9 with 2:03 to go in the third period. From there, USC's patience and defensive efforts won out. The Women of Troy took their first lead of the tournament - and converted on their sixth straight 6-on-5 opportunity of the game - when Dronberger buried a slick shot for USC to make it a 10-9 Trojan edge with 6:24 still to play. The USC defense pitched a shutout against the Sun Devils the rest of the way, clamping down at two-meters and staying stubborn on the perimeter to keep that slim lead intact, as the Women of Troy emerged victorious with the 10-9 victory.
USC will face either San Diego State or Hawai'i tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. in the MPSF fifth-place game.
2011 MPSF CHAMPIONSHIPS - San Jose, Calif.
SAVES: Flora Bolonyai (USC) 3, Ianeta Hutchinson (ASU) 4.