Women of Troy Fall In NCAA Title Match|
May 13, 2012
SAN DIEGO, CALIF. - The USC women's water polo team tied up the game four times before top-seeded Stanford managed a late push to victory in today's 2012 NCAA Championship in San Diego. Following a powerful semifinal win yesterday over rival UCLA, the Trojan offense came up short in this one, taking a 6-4 loss to the Cardinal to take second in the NCAA Tournament. USC finishes 23-6 overall on the year after this run to the title match.
After the Trojans pulled even with the Cardinal at 4-4 on a Monica Vavic blast in the first minute of the final frame, Stanford broke a stretch of 11 minutes of silence to snag back the lead, up 5-4 with 4:13 to go. USC was unable to find the equalizer in the remaining time, coming up against a hot-handed Stanford goalie in Kate Baldoni and a number of unlucky crossbar blasts. Stanford, meanwhile, managed a bar-in goal with 1:11 to go to take a two-goal advantage, and USC was unable to rally back.
Baldoni would finish the game with 15 saves to anchor the Cardinal defensively. USC was able to crack her code with four blasts in the game, first from the hands of Madeline Rosenthal for an early 1-0 Trojan lead. Colleen O'Donnell, Patricia Jancso and Monica Vavic each delivered equalizing strikes for the Trojans down the stretch. USC goalie Flora Bolonyai was clutch once again for the Trojan defense, meanwhile. The sophomore hauled in nine saves in the game, including several dramatic close-range stops to keep her Trojans within reach.
USC's last national championship had come in 2010 at the same pool, against the same opponent. That year, the Trojans beat Stanford 10-9 in the title match.
This year's NCAA All-Tournament Teams contain four Trojans. Flora Bolonyai earned a spot on the NCAA All-Tournament Second Team, with NCAA All-Tournament First Team picks Patricia Jancso, Kaleigh Gilchrist and Monica Vavic.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS (Aztec Aquaplex - San Diego, Calif.)