Women's Water Polo
    Women's Water Polo Says Aloha To MPSF Challenge
    Junior Sofia Konoukh has dominated with a team-leading 93 goals this season
    Junior Sofia Konoukh has dominated with a team-leading 93 goals this season

    April 25, 2001

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    LOS ANGELES -- The No. 3 USC women's water polo team (26-3, 8-2) travels to Hawaii for the 2001 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament with the winner receiving an automatic bid for the NCAA Championships on May 12-13 at Stanford. USC has won 16 straight matches and has not lost since March 9 (13-6 at UCLA).

    PELLE SETS SCORING RECORD -- With her second goal in the March 17 match against Cal Baptist at the Rainbow Wahine Challenge in Honolulu, Aniko Pelle set a school record with her 143rd career goal. Pelle surpassed Christina McCall, who scored 142 goals during her career (1995-97). Pelle currently has 193 career goals.

    RANKINGS -- USC is ranked No. 3 in the latest U.S. Women's Water Polo Top 20 Poll.

    NOTES & STATS -- The Trojans have outscored their opponents this season by a 390-147 margin and have scored 10 or more goals in 26 out of 29 matches, including their last 16 straight...the Trojans have outscored their opponents, 108-38, in the first period this season and 108-21 in the second period.

    JOVAN VAVIC -- In his seventh season as the program's only head coach, Jovan Vavic has built the Trojans into a national power, which culminated with the 1999 national championship. He oversaw the program's move from Division II to Division I in 1996. In 1997, the Trojans made their first-ever Division I National Championships appearance with a seventh-place finish while the 1998 team finished in fifth place. Last year, the Women of Troy finished second in the nation. In 1999, Vavic, a native of Yugoslavia, was named the National Coach of the Year and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Coach of the Year. Vavic is also the head coach for the USC men's water polo team, which won the 1998 NCAA championship.

    VAVIC'S CAREER RECORD -- Jovan Vavic has a 144-81 (.640) record in seven years with the Women of Troy.

    USC GETS PRESEASON NOD AS NO. 1 TEAM -- USC was named as the No. 1 ranked team in a preseason preview by Sports Illustrated for Women. Nina Wengst and Aniko Pelle are pictured in the March/April 2001 issue.

    ANIKO PELLE -- Junior Aniko Pelle (Budapest, Hungary) has demonstrated her ability as one of the nation's top offensive players. This season, she is second on the team with 77 goals after an outstanding 2000 season. On March 17 against Cal Baptist, she passed Christina McCall (1995-97) for first place on the all-time goal-scoring list with her 143rd goal. She scored eight goals in a 16-3 win against UC Irvine on April 8 at McDonald's Swim Stadium. Pelle was named Most Valuable Player at the Long Beach State Tournament after recording 25 goals in six matches. She scored six goals in the opening match in a 25-0 win against UC Santa Cruz. Last year, Pelle led the team with 64 goals and earned the Peter J. Cutino Award as the nation's top female water polo player. She also earned All-America first team honors and was named 2000 MPSF Field Player of the Year. Pelle recorded eight goals, including three in the championship match vs. UCLA, at the Southern California Regional. She was named to the All-Tournament first-team for her efforts. She earned All-America first team honors as a freshman after leading the team with 52 goals. She was also a member of the Hungarian National Team, who took part in the 1999 European Championships and the 1999 Fina Cup.

    NINA WENGST -- Junior two-meter Nina Wengst (Krefeld, Germany) is fourth on the team with 54 goals. Last season, she finished second on the team with 63 goals and earned All-America first team honors. She also earned Southern California Regional first-team All-Tournament and MPSF first-team honors. She scored a season-high seven goals in the 2000 season opener on Feb. 10 in the Trojans' 12-8 win at San Diego State and was featured in the May/June 2000 issue of Sports Illustrated for Women as part of the "Faces In The Crowd" section. She earned 1999 All-America honorable mention honors. Wengst was also a member of the German National Team, who took part in the 1999 European Championships.

    SOFIA KONOUKH -- The USC program added a top-notch player in junior Sofia Konoukh (Chelyabinsk, Russia) this season. Konoukh was a member of the Russian team that won the bronze medal at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. This season, she leads the team with 93 goals and set a new school season record, surpassing the record of 64 by Aniko Pelle last year. Konoukh has scored seven goals in a match twice this season (April 14 vs. UC Irvine and April 15 vs. Long Beach State). She set the record during the Long Beach State Tournament, where she scored 28 goals in six matches. Konoukh was named most valuable player at the Rainbow Wahine Challenge in Honolulu (March 16-17) after recording 14 goals in three matches. She registered a team-high five goals on Feb. 17 in a 12-5 win at UC Santa Barbara.

    KONOUKH EARNS MPSF/MIKASA HONORS -- Junior Sofia Konoukh was named MPSF/Mikasa Player of the Week on Feb. 19 for recording seven goals in two matches. She scored a team-high five goals in a 12-5 win at No. 8 UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 17 and added two goals in a 9-4 win vs. No. 7 Long Beach State. She earned her second honor on April 16 after scoring 28 goals in six matches at the Long Beach State Tournament. She scored a team-high seven goals twice, including the Women of Troy's 15-6 win against Long Beach State in the championship match.

    KATRIN DIEROLF -- Sophomore Katrin Dierolf (Esslingen, Germany) is third on the team this season with 57 goals. She was the Women of Troy's leading scorer in three of four matches at the UC Santa Barbara Tournament and had a total of 12 goals. On March 3 at San Jose State, Dierolf and teammate Sofia Konoukh had four goals each in a 10-6 win. She also led the team with four goals in a crucial 10-8 win on March 28 vs. California. Dierolf scored a season-high seven goals on April 7 against San Diego State in a 19-4 victory. Dierolf was third on the team last year with 42 goals, earning All-America honorable mention honors. She led the team with three goals in the national semifinal match in a 10-5 win over Stanford and scored three goals in the national championship match against UCLA. She has played on the German National Team and was the youngest German player ever to take part in a Senior European Championships (1995).

    FUN IN THE SUN -- The Women of Troy used its spring break to travel to Hawaii for an MPSF match and participate in the Rainbow Wahine Challenge. USC defeated Hawaii, 13-6, on March 15 in the MPSF match and won the tournament with wins over Washington (19-1), Cal Baptist (18-4) and Hawaii (14-6). Sofia Konoukh was named most valuable player while Aniko Pelle, Nina Wengst and Katrin Dierolf were named to the all-tournament team.

    YOUNG GUNS -- Freshmen Courtney Lee (Placentia/El Dorado HS) and Kelly Graff (Irvine/Irvine HS) give USC one of the best goalkeeper tandems in the nation. Both have played significant time in goal. Lee played in the first half and Graff in the second half in USC's 15-6 win against Long Beach State on April 15 in the championship match of the Long Beach State Tournament.

    WHEN IS A WIN NOT A WIN? -- Since Washington competes as a club team, USC's win against the Huskies on March 16 in Hawaii does not count as an official match and all goals scored will not be included as part of individual goal totals.