No. 1 USC Streaks Into NCAA Semifinals
May 10, 2013
BOSTON, MASS. -- The top-seeded USC women's water polo team will carry a scoring streak of 27 unanswered goals into tomorrow's NCAA Semifinals after the Trojans trounced No. 8 seed Pomona-Pitzer 27-1 in today's NCAA Championship first round at Harvard's Blodgett Pool. The Sagehens managed a nice goal out of the gates, but the score shook the Women of Troy back to full attention to the task at hand. Now holding a 25-1 overall record, USC is looking for a fourth national championship, and to get into title contention the Trojans will need to get through No. 4 seed Hawai'i tomorrow (May 11) in the NCAA Semifinals at 5:15 p.m. ET.
USC definitely spread the wealth in today's first round, while at the other end the Trojans were purely stifling defensively. USC rattled the post on its first possession, and Pomona-Pitzer got on the board first when Katy Schaefer plugged a perfect shot into the top corner, just out of reach of USC goalie Flora Bolonyai. Bolonyai and her Trojan defense adjusted quickly, and the Sagehorns would see no more goals the rest of the way. Steals, saves, takeaways and field blocks were the name of the game for the USC defense, while the offense soon caught fire in feeding off of those defensive stops.
Twelve different Trojans who hit the back of the net in the game, led by four-goal outings from senior captain Dominique Sardo and sophomore Cutino Award finalist Monica Vavic. For Vavic, the four-goal day bumps her single-season scoring total to 75, matching the third most goals scored in a season by a Trojan. She also moves up to No. 17 all-time in career scoring, now with 115 career goals.
Vavic's first goal of the day brought the Trojans even with the Sagehens, making it 1-1 at 5:20 in the first. From there, senior Nicolina McCall took things into her own hands, blasting three straight goals to lift USC to the lead and along on what would grow to be a 27-goal scoring run to the finish line.
McCall and Jayde Appel each finished with three goals apiece in the game, and five other Trojans also made it multiple-goal days with two scores apiece from Anni Espar, Hannah Buckling, Olivia Cummins, Kelly Mendoza and Constance Hiller. Also getting in on the scoring action in the busy offensive effort were Chelsea Silvers, Eike Daube and Kaleigh Gilchrist.
USC's defensive game was solidly backed up by Bolonyai, who hauled in 10 saves while her Trojan field players were nabbing steals and helping to shut down the Sagehens. USC's offensive ball movement, too, was impressive in the game. Teammates were serving up assists and second assists on every goal in an effort to propel the Trojans into the semifinals for some momentum toward a championship run.
2013 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS (Blodgett Pool Boston, Mass.)
First Round - May 10, 2013
SAVES: Flora Bolonyai (USC) 10, Sarah Tuggy (P-P) 9.