No. 3 USC Lines Up For Rivalry Showdown With UCLA Wednesday
Women of Troy tangle with the Bruins at 5 p.m. at Uytengsu looking for USC's fifth straight win over its crosstown rivals.
April 14, 2014
USC Water Polo Release
No. 3 USC will put the finishing touches on the regular season with a homepool showdown against crosstown rival UCLA. The Trojans (22-1, 4-1 MPSF) are lined up for a crucial clash against the No. 2 Bruins (22-3, 4-1) on Wednesday (April 16) at 5 p.m. at Uytengsu Aquatics Center. The game will determine the seedings for the coming MPSF Tournament. USC will play host to that, too, along with the NCAA Tournament, keeping the Women of Troy in home waters for the rest of the 2014. Wednesday's USC-UCLA rivalry game will be televised by Pac-12 Networks with Chris Dorst and Jason Knapp on the call. Prior to the game, USC will hold a Senior Day celebration to honor its six seniors: Flora Bolonyai, Kaleigh Gilchrist, Kelly Mendoza, Colleen O'Donnell, Olivia Cummins and Madeline Rosenthal.
USC IN THE RANKINGS
THE LAST MEETING
February 23, 2014
Top-Ranked Trojans Beat The Bruins In OT For Tournament Title
The No. 1 USC women's water polo team wrapped up its second straight UCI Invitational championship by beating out rival UCLA with a strong overtime performance that saw Eike Daube punch in two OT goals to make it a 7-6 Trojan victory. The champs now hold a perfect 12-0 record on the year.
USC opened 2014 ranked No. 1 in both the national and MPSF preseason polls. The Trojans stayed in the top spot in the land until April 2, following a loss to Stanford. USC has weighed in at No. 3 in the national rankings for the past two weeks. The next round of national rankings will be released on April 16.
LAST WEEKWATCH: BOUNCING BACK
USC turned a one-point game into a 10-point game with a balanced effort that launched the Trojans toward a 14-5 final victory over visiting No. 13 LMU last week at Uytengsu Aquatics Center. The hot hand of the day was wielded once again by Eike Daube, who plugged in three goals during USC's first five-goal surge and finished with four on the day. When LMU finally broke through, the Trojans spurred off on another five-goal rally to leave the Lions well behind. After a quiet start to the game, the Trojans broke ground when Stephania Haralabidis whipped in her first goal of an eventual hat trick. She'd later have the last word in both the second and third periods to help USC build that hefty lead. The USC defense reigned supreme in the first eight minutes with a string of takeaways to help feed into the attack. A Jayde Appel steal wound up promptly in the hands of a streaking Olivia Cummins, who ripped in the counterattack strike for a 2-0 Trojan lead. Daube slammed home her first of four goals with a blast just four seconds ahead of the first-frame buzzer, and USC took a clean 3-0 lead into the next stretch. There, LMU got on the board with a couple 6-on-5 finishes, and then cut it down to a one-point game with a score out of set. The Women of Troy responded with three goals in the next three minutes, receiving repeat strikes from Daube and Haralabidis along with a searing backhand from Kaleigh Gilchrist to pull the senior up to No. 12 all-time in career scoring. Daube would go back-to-back with rockets that carried the Trojans to a 9-3 lead midway through the third, and although LMU broke its silence with a close-range goal at the 2:05 mark, that just sparked USC to another rally. Monica Vavic hit Haralabidis for a successful Trojan power play, and USC goalie Flora Bolonyai shut down LMU's next chance with the advantage to preserve a 10-4 advantage entering the final frame. There, Colleen O'Donnell, Jennifer Stiefel and Avery Peterson all got in on the scoring action for the Women of Troy, while LMU finished off the game with a 5-meter penalty score that made it a 14-5 final in USC's favor.
The No. 2 Bruins are 22-3, 4-1 MPSF after a 9-8 loss to No. 1 Stanford and an 8-6 win over San Jose State last week. Emily Donahoe leads UCLA in scoring with 48 goals. Goalie Sami Hill is averaging almost 10 saves and 5.0 goals-against per game n 25 appearances. USC is 22-44 all-time against UCLA with wins in the past four meetings, including a 7-6 overtime victory earlier this season in the championship game of the UCI Invitational. Last year, USC beat UCLA 11-10 at the 2013 UCI Invitational and then won 11-6 in their MPSF clash in Westwood.
VICTORS IN IRVINE
USC made a statement with its surge to a second consecutive UCI Invitational title. The Trojans again went big on day one in securing their place in Sunday's semifinals with two strong wins on Saturday. There, USC topped Bakersfield 21-1 before taking out No. 10 Cal State Northridge 12-5. That put USC in a semifinal bout against No. 4 California, and the Trojans were up to the task. Freshman Stephania Haralabidis delivered her first four-goal game to lead the Trojans, with Eike Daube delivering a fourth-quarter hat trick to further charge up USC. The Trojans' balance kept them out of reach of the Bears on the way to a solid 12-7 win over the Bears. That moved the Trojans into the title match against an upset-minded UCLA squad that had just served up a big win over No. 2 Stanford. That game opened as a defensive battle in comparison to the high-scoring affairs the Women of Troy had been posting on the way in. The Bruins registered the first goal of the game and would put USC in a 2-0 hole out of the gates before Madeline Rosenthal drew first blood for the Trojans with a score from the post during the first frame. The second period would go scoreless until freshman Stephania Haralabidis leveled the score with a strike 20 seconds before halftime hit. In the third, UCLA took a 3-2 lead, but this time Ioanna Haralabidis would come through with the equalizer for the Trojans, locking it a 3-3 with 3:34 on the clock. Colleen O'Donnell bounced USC into the lead for the first time with a score during the third, and she'd pad it out to a 5-3 advantage early in the fourth. The Bruins cut it down to 5-4 with 1:37 to go, and UCLA would get up on a 6-on-5 in the final minute, converting to lock the game back up 5-5 with just five seconds left in regulation. That brought up overtime, where UCLA scored its third straight to take a 6-5 lead midway through the first frame of OT. In the second, the Trojans buckled down. Winners of a triple sudden-death overtime in the 2013 NCAA Championship game, the Women of Troy remained resolute and focused. Just 42 seconds into the second overtime period, Daube whipped in a crosscage score to pull USC even at 7-7. It wasn't long until Daube would deliver again, striking a skipper to take a 7-6 advantage that would hold the rest of the way as USC successful fended off the Bruins to capture the championship.
CARDINAL & GOLD AT THE WHITE HOUSE
For the second time in five years, both the USC men's and women's water polo programs made a trip to Washington, D.C., to visit the White House as NCAA Champions. United States President Barack Obama extended an invitation to national championship teams from around the country for the opportunity to tour the White House and meet the President on March 10. Head coach Jovan Vavic brought his latest crews of champions, along with his coaching staff and a few support staff, on the memorable journey. Members of USC's 2013 women's team -- which won the title in a sudden-death victory -- and members of the 2013 men's teams -- which won a sixth consecutive title with an overtime victory -- took the trip to Washington. The last USC teams to make such a visit were the Trojans' 2010 champions. That was the last year that the USC men's and women's water polo teams went back-to-back with NCAA championships.
BY THE NUMBERS
Through these 23 games of 2014, USC is more than tripling the output of its opponents, outscoring teams 353-106 to lead the MPSF in offense and defense to date. Junior Monica Vavic is the top scorer to date with 57 goals as she has climbed to No. 7 all-time in career scoring (173 career goals). Next in line in scoring this year is freshman Stephania Haralabidis with 46 goals, followed by Eike Daube with 35 goals, Kaleigh Gilchrist with 30 and freshman Ioanna Haralabidis with 27. Gilchrist also is on the career climb, ranking No. 12 all-time with 137 career goals. On the defensive end, USC has a reliable anchor in senior goalie Flora Bolonyai, who is averaging 9.6 saves per game and 4.7 goals-against per game in her 21 appearances to date.
USC has several Trojans on the rise in the record books. Junior Monica Vavic currently holds 173 career goals to have cracked the all-time top-10. With four goals vs. Bakersfield on March 7, she took over the No. 8 spot previously held by two-time Olympian Kami Craig. She's now flying solo at the No. 7 spot. Senior Kaleigh Gilchrist, too, is making moves up the ladder. With 137 career goals, Gilchrist ranks No. 12 all-time, having bumped another two-time Olympian, Lauren Wenger out of the No. 13 spot along the way. She's now five scores away from a share of No. 10. Defensively, senior goalie Flora Bolonyai has a solid chance to take over as USC's all-time career saves leader by the end of the year. Bolonyai passed up Tumua Anae last season to take over at No. 2. Now with 826 career saves to date, Bolonyai is closing the gap between herself and all-time leader Bernice Orwig's 838 saves as a Trojan. All three USC goalies hold the distinction of being Olympians, with Orwig holding a silver medal with Team USA at the 2000 Games and Anae captured gold with the United States in 2012 in London. Bolonyai also is a 2012 Olympian, having played for Hungary in those Games.
FLORA IN CONTROL
Senior goalie Flora Bolonyai was a wall in the cage for the Trojans in their run to capturing the Triton Invitational championship and earned her first season honor of MPSF Player of the Week for her winning efforts. Bolonyai had 10 saves in a 13-0 group-play win over #16 Cal State Northridge -- securing the sixth shutout victory in program history -- to advance the Trojans to the semifinals. There, Bolonyai pinned up another 10-save effort in a 10-4 win over No. 10 Arizona State for a ticket to the final. In the title match, Bolonyai opened the day with a save against a UC Irvine 5-meter penalty shot, and she'd finish with 11 saves in the 8-3 championship win. In all, Bolonyai finished the weekend with 33 saves and seven goals allowed while. On March 17, Bolonyai earned another pick as MPSF Player of the Week after a 12-save outing in a win over Cal.
Following the top-ranked Trojans' powerful run to the 2014 UCI Invitational championship, USC made it an MPSF sweep of the weekly awards. Junior Eike Daube has locked in her first career selection as the MPSF Player of the Week, and freshman Stephania Haralabidis has hauled in her first collegiate award as the MPSF Newcomer of the Week. Daube went big for the Trojans on the crucial second day of the UCI Invitational, delivering a fourth-quarter hat trick to help lead the Trojans to a 12-7 semifinal win over No. 4 Cal before coming up clutch in the championship game. Daube scored twice during the second overtime period to pull USC out of a 6-5 OT hole and secure the tournament title for the Trojans with a 7-6 comeback win against No. 3 UCLA. Her five goals on Sunday paired with a goal during group play the previous day to give Daube total 16 goals just 12 games into the year. As a sophomore, Daube scored 23 total goals in all of 2013. Haralabidis was the Trojans' top scorer at the UCI Invitational. With 10 goals in the tourney, Haralabidis also was key in propelling USC to its second straight UCI Invitational championship. In the semifinal against No. 4 Cal, Haralabidis set a career high for herself with a four-goal game in the win over the Bears. She added her 10th goal of the tourney with an early equalizer for the Trojans in their comeback win over No. 3 UCLA in the title match.
HEATING UP IN HAWAI'I
USC had a profitable Spring Break trip to Hawai'i, cashing in with three wins in Honolulu to extend the Trojans' win streak out to 25 in a row. Monica Vavic would finish as USC's top scorer on the trip, finishing up with nine goals to score herself a selection as the MPSF Player of the Week for the first time this season. USC opened up with a Friday night clash against Indiana, beating the Hoosiers 15-5 that evening. The next day, it was double duty for the Women of Troy, who pinned up a 12-3 win over Long Beach State before dealing out a 14-6 win over host Hawai'i that same day. Defensive stands were the name of the game in all three victories for the Trojans. Against Indiana, USC held the No. 14 Hoosiers scoreless for 16 minutes of action, while spreading the wealth among 11 scorers in the win. The following day, the Trojans were stifling out of the gates in both matches. USC scored the first nine goals of the game against the 49ers and the drummed up the first 10 against the Rainbow Wahine en route to the dominating victories.
Freshman Stephania Haralabidis tallied a first-half hat trick for the Trojans in their MPSF opener, delivering three goals in USC's 15-6 win over No. 5 host Arizona State. For her efforts, Haralabidis picked up back-to-back honors as the MPSF Newcomer of the Week, following up her Feb. 24 pick for her work in helping USC to the UCI Invitational championship with another selection on March 3. Haralabidis' three goals against Arizona State came in a four-minute span, helping USC along to an early 6-2 lead on the Sun Devils. In addition to her three goals on four shots taken, Haralabidis also won three sprints, had three steals and served up three assists in the win. Haralabidis now stands as USC's second leading scorer with 46 goals. She has scored in all but two games this season.
The 2014 Trojans return five starters from the last national championship team. NCAA Tournament MVP Flora Bolonyai -- an Olympian and a three-time All-American -- is the undeniable backbone of the team as the Trojans' steadfast goalie. She returns as one of five All-Americans back in the water, joined by fellow senior All-Americans Kaleigh Gilchrist, Kelly Mendoza and Madeline Rosenthal. Junior Monica Vavic returns as another All-American as well as the Trojans' top scorer and MPSF Player of the Year last season. That entire group gleaned even more key experience in the offseason, playing internationally throughout the summer along with several other Trojan teammates. Bolonyai won a bronze medal with Hungary at the 2013 FINA World Championships. Gilchrist, Mendoza and Vavic, as well as juniors Colleen O'Donnell and Eike Daube, all spent time with the U.S. National Team. Daube and Vavic combined forces for gold with the U.S. Junior National Team at the FINA Junior World Championships, while Jayde Appel pulled double duty in representing Australia at both the senior and junior World Championships. She'd bring home a World Championship silver medal from Barcelona, where Bolonyai picked up her bronze medal. The international standout list goes on. Back from training with the German National Team is junior Jennifer Stiefel, and new to the Trojan roster this season are the powerful sister act from Greece, Ioanna and Stephania Haralabidis.
2014 TROJANS AT A GLANCE
USC is coming off a 2013 season in which the Trojans posted a 27-1 overall record, culminating the season by knocking off defending champ Stanford 10-9 in triple sudden death overtime for the 2013 NCAA Championship at Harvard. En route to winning their fourth national championship, the Trojans also won the 2013 MPSF Tournament championship with a win over the Cardinal in that title match. This season, USC returns 2013 MPSF Player of the Year and All-American Monica Vavic, who poured in 77 goals last year, along with senior All-Americans Flora Bolonyai at goalkeeper, Kaleigh Gilchrist, Madeline Rosenthal and Kelly Mendoza. Named the 2013 National Coach of the Year, USC head coach Jovan Vavic now enters his 20th season at the helm of the Trojan women's water polo program.
WELCOME TO UYTENGSU!
USC proudly welcomes visitors to the new state-of-the-art Uytengsu (pronounced `wee-TENG-soo') Aquatics Center this season. Made possible by the largest gift ever by a former USC student-athlete, swimmer Fred Uytengsu, the new home of the Trojan aquatics programs officially opened on Feb. 21. The pool and diving well both were used for the 1984 Olympic Games, but the surrounding facility has an entirely new look. A new scoreboard as well as stands, overhangs, entryways and buildings with event and office space now surround the pools for an arena that also honors the historic tradition of success that Trojan aquatics exemplifies.