The ball drops on the 2013 USC women's water polo season this weekend!
Feb. 6, 2013
USC Water Polo Release
THIS WEEKTRITON INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT CENTRAL
The No. 2 USC women's water polo team kicks off its 2013 campaign this week with a trip to San Diego. There, the Women of Troy will test the season's waters at the Triton Invitational, hosted by UC San Diego on Saturday and Sunday (Feb. 9-10). USC opens competition against Cal State East Bay at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday (Feb. 9) at Canyonview Pool, and a win would put the Trojans in a 3:10 p.m. match that day against either Hartwick or Cal State Northridge. The semifinal match would be at 11:10 a.m. on Sunday (Feb. 10) at Triton Pool with the championship at 5:50 p.m. following a 4:30 p.m. third-place game.
USC opened 2013 ranked No. 2 in the nation, and the Women of Troy remain in that spot entering week three of competition.
This year's Triton Invitational is a 16-team tournament that opens with bracket play. No. 2-ranked USC is grouped with No. 17 Hartwick, No. 17 Cal State Northridge and Cal State East Bay. Those Bracket A teams would cross over with teams from Bracket D --- No. 7 San Diego State, No. 11 Michigan, Long Beach State and Santa Clara -- on Sunday morning. Brackets B and C, meanwhile, contain No. 5 Arizona State, No. 15 LMU, No. 19 UC San Diego and Marist and No. 6 UC Irvine, No. 13 UC Santa Barbara, CSU Bakersfield and Sonoma State.
USC's captains this year are senior Dominique Sardo and junior Kaleigh Gilchrist, who each tote 62 career goals into this 2013 season. All-Americans both, the two Trojan veterans are lined up to lead the Women of Troy by word and deed this season.
USC has an influx of incredible international talent this season. Freshly capped up for their first seasons as Trojans are Australian imports Jayde Appel and Hannah Buckling, along with Olympic gold medalist Anni Espar of Spain. Espar was named to the 2012 Olympic All-Star Team and also selected the European Women's Water Polo Player of the Year. Appel has been a member of the Australian Junior National Team, and Buckling is a member of the Australian Senior National Team. Even more international experience already lives large on the Trojan roster. Olympian Flora Bolonyai helped Hungary to a fourth-place finish in London, and the junior now returns to Troy to guard the cage as one of USC's most experienced and decorated goalies in history. A veteran crew of U.S. Junior National Team talent also shines bright for the Trojans, with sophomore Eike Daube a current member of the U.S junior team, and 2011 Junior World Championship teammates for the USA Kelly Mendoza, Colleen O'Donnell, Madeline Rosenthal, Dominique Sardo. Mendoza is another new addition to the Trojan roster for 2013, coming to Troy as a junior transfer from Cal. Sophomore Monica Vavic, too, also has spent time in international waters playing for the U.S. youth and junior teams.
PARDON OUR DUST
The home of the Trojans is a work in progress right now, but pool is still intact. USC has begun construction of the Uytengsu Aquatics Center, which will house the Trojan aquatics programs as well as feature a beautiful state-of-the-art facility that has already been tabbed as the site of the 2014 NCAA Women's Water Polo Championships. The Women of Troy will host three games at their home pool this season, so don't be tricked by the construction surrounding the pool... USC aquatics is still in full swing on campus!
CARDINAL & GOLD PAIRS WELL WITH RED, WHITE & BLUE
USC's decorated and championship-savvy water polo head coach, Jovan Vavic, added another team to his charge in being named interim head coach of the USA Men's Senior National Team, USA Water Polo's Chief Executive Officer Chris Ramsey announced In November 2012. The 11-time National Coach of the Year at the helm of both the USC men's and women's programs, Vavic stepped into the international realm in an effort to help Team USA qualify for the 2013 FINA World Championships. In his debut as interim head coach for Team USA Vavic, along with Trojan head assistant coach Marko Pintaric, successfully guided Team USA to qualification for the upcoming FINA World Championships. Leading a fairly young U.S. squad -- which included current Trojan Nikola Vavic and former Trojan Tommy Corcoran -- coach Vavic helped the United States to reach the final of the UANA World Aquatic Championship Qualification Tournament in order to secure a spot at Worlds. Vavic and Pintaric both have returned to USC to resume duties leading the USC women as they begin their 2013 season. Both coaches will remain on staff for the USC men and women.
The 2012 Women of Troy fought back to the NCAA final for the fourth time in the past five seasons. Seeded third in the tourney, USC beat rival UCLA 12-10 in the 2012 NCAA semifinals to force a rematch of the 2010 national championship game with a bout against top-seeded Stanford. The Cardinal won the title with 6-4 victory, putting the Trojans at 23-6 overall on the year as USC finished ranked No. 2 in the nation. The Trojans finished third in the MPSF Tournament. Led by freshman first-team selection Monica Vavic, the USC landed six All-Americans for the 2012 season, including a pair of newly crowned two-time All-Americans in second-team selection Flora Bolonyai and honorable mention recipient Nadia Dan. The rest of the group grabbed their first career honors, with sophomore Kaleigh Gilchrist on the second team, and sophomore Colleen O'Donnell and junior Dominique Sardo earning honorable mention. Gilchrist was the Trojans' top scorer in 2012 with 47 goals, followed by Vavic with 39. Bolonyai averaged 8.6 saves per game and 5.3 goals-against per game on the year. In all, the USC offense averaged 11.1 goals per game, while the defense allowed 5.2 goals-against per game. USC outscored opponents 321-151 in 2012.