Ioanna Haralabidis and the Trojans head to La Jolla this weekend.
Feb. 6, 2015
USC Water Polo Release
After an early 2-0 start to 2015, the Women of Troy transition into tournament action this weekend with a trip to La Jolla for the Triton Invitational. No. 3 USC is bracketed with No. 14 Michigan, No. 15 Long Beach State and unranked Cal State East Bay to open the 16-team tourney. The Trojans line up against Cal State East Bay in their opener at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday (Feb. 7) at UC San Diego's Canyonview Pool. A win there would put USC up against the other Bracket A winner at 3:10 p.m. that afternoon. A victorious Saturday would propel the Trojans into an 11:30 a.m. semifinal bout against the winner of Bracket D on Sunday (Feb. 8) at Triton Pool to fight for the right to a spot in the 5:50 p.m. championship match.
THE LAST MEETING
|Cal State East Bay||4
February 9, 2013
San Diego, Calif.
USC IN THE RANKINGS
USC opened 2015 ranked No. 3 in both the national and MPSF preseason polls. Now three weeks into the season, the Trojans remain ranked as the nation's No. 3 team.
FIRST DAY OUT
USC hauled in two sizable victories in its first action of the year, beating Bakersfield 33-5 and then handing out a 24-3 win over Cal Baptist in early-season competition in Westwood on Jan. 17. Senior Monica Vavic scored 14 goals across the two wins to pace the high-powered Trojan offense, but there was plenty of other firepower for the Trojan cause. By day's end, USC had seven newcomers logged with their first career goals as Trojans, while freshman goalie Victória Chamorro clocked in a solid performance in the cage for her first minutes with the Women of Troy. Playing at the UCLA Invitational with a doubleheader on tap for Day One of 2015, the Trojans were ready to roll. Up against CSU Bakersfield for the season opener, the Trojans turned an early 1-1 lockup into an 8-1 advantage and then 13-3 lead by halftime with six different Women of Troy getting in on the action through the first 16 minutes of the year. Senior Vavic and sophomore Ioanna Haralabidis had four goals apiece by halftime in crafting that hefty advantage, and the Trojans just kept coming. By the final whistle, USC newcomers Melissa Bergesen, Brigitta Games and Brianna Daboub had registered their first career goals as Trojans en route to the powerful 33-5 victory. Vavic would go big with a career-high eight goals, with Ioanna Haralabidis also setting a new career best with five goals, matched by Stephania Haralabidis with five as well. Freshman games led the newcomers with a four-goal outing in the win over the Roadrunners. USC would turn right around and square off against Cal Baptist just minutes after the clash with CSU Bakersfield. The Trojans had found their groove by then, peeling out to a 14-0 lead after a first-half shutout and then two more goals to open the second half of play. Eight different Women of Troy had struck by halftime, and three more joined the party in the second half to wrap a set of 12 scorers in the winning effort. Cal Baptist would break the shutout with three goals in the second half, but USC kept coming with another 12 goals in the second half. Vavic drilled six to lead the way once again, while Bergeson and Ioanna Haralabidis and Stephania Haralabidis followed with a hat trick apiece. Drumming up their first career goals at USC were freshmen Hayley McKelvey, Sydney Blubaugh, Courtney Batcheller and Cara Borkovec.
MONICA ON HER MARK
In USC's first games of 2015, Monica Vavic got out to a career-best start. She plugged in a career-high eight goals in the Trojans' season-opening win over CSU Bakersfield and then added six more goals in a win over Cal Baptist at the UCLA Invitational. For her powerful kickoff to her senior season, Vavic was selected the MPSF Player of the Week on Jan. 20. Along with her grand total of 14 goals, Vavic also contributed eight assists and seven steals in her five periods of work across the two wins. Vavic served up five assists in the 33-5 win over the Roadrunners and then had three more assists in the 24-3 win over Cal Baptist. Vavic's scoring outburst moved her up to rank No. 6 all-time in career goals at USC (205). Her eight goals scored in the opener matched the most goals in a single game by an MPSF player since 2007 and the most by a Trojan since Aniko Pelle in 2001.
Twenty years ago, Jovan Vavic got the ball officially rolling for women's water polo at USC. Fair to say, that ball just continues to pick up speed. Under Vavic's guidance, the Women of Troy have won four national championships since that inaugural 1995 season. And ever since winning their second title in 2004, Vavic's Trojans have reached the NCAA Tournament every single season while capturing two more crowns along the way. This year, the USC women show no signs of losing any of that postseason steam. Besides coach Vavic, there are three Women of Troy who have already had a taste of NCAA Championship glory. Junior Jayde Appel and senior All-Americans Eike Daube and Monica Vavic were all three members of USC's 2013 national championship team. Their veteran savvy provides the groundwork for this 2015 roster, which is also replete with plenty of talented youth to help drive USC back toward a 12th consecutive trip to the NCAA tourney after a third-place finish last season and a 26-4 overall mark.
LOCKED AND RELOADED
USC's three returning All-Americans alone have proven they can provide serious firepower. Monica Vavic topped the charts in 2014 with 75 goals on her way to a third straight selection as an All-American. Eike Daube and Stephania Haralabidis were first-time All-American honorees last season, having served up a combined 102 goals in weighing in as USC's next most prolific scorers. All told, six of USC's top eight scorers are back for more in 2015. Seniors Daube, Vavic and Jennifer Stiefel were right in that mix last season. Stiefel punched in 31 goals; Daube was third on the team with 44 goals; and Vavic's 75 goals pumped up her career tally to 205 to rank her No. 6 all-time in career scoring -- just 50 goals shy of the all-time record. Fueling the offensive fire further are now-sophomores Stephania and Ioanna Haralablidis, whose 58 and 33 respective goals as freshmen make them key elements for 2015 as well, along with junior Jayde Appel, who struck 25 goals last year. Needless to say, USC has an adept ability to score.
USC's backbone for the last four seasons has been in the cage. Olympian and four-time All-American goalie Flora Bolonyai has now graduated, leaving the defensive duties to a new international import. Brazilian national teamer Victória Chamorro takes over as USC's starting goalie, backed up by returners Alegra Hueso and Melanie Slater, who both got in good game action last season. Vavic sees Chamorro as a burgeoning talent for the Trojans.