USC Competes At NCAA Championship This Weekend
May 9, 2005
LOS ANGELES -- The No. 2 USC and defending national champion women's water polo team (23-4) competes at the 2005 NCAA Championship this weekend (May 13-15) in Ann Arbor, Mich., hosted by the University of Michigan. The Women of Troy earned the No. 2 seed with an at-large bid and will face No. 7 seed Redlands (19-11) in a first-round match on Friday (May 13) at 3 p.m. Eastern. The tournament was expanded this year to an eight-team format.
RANKINGS -- USC is ranked No. 2 in the latest U.S. Women's Water Polo Top 20 Poll.
Jovan Vavic -- In his 11th season as the program's only head coach, Jovan Vavic has built the Women of Troy into a national power, laying claim to two national championships (1999 and 2004). 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. Vavic, a native of Yugoslavia, was named the National Coach of the Year and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Coach of the Year in 1999 and 2004. Vavic is also the head coach for the USC men's water polo team, which won the 1998 and 2003 NCAA championships.
VAVIC'S CAREER RECORD -- Jovan Vavic has a 248-94 (.725) record in his 11th season with the Women of Troy. He possesses a 183-27 (.871) mark since the program was fully funded in 1999 and an even more impressive record of 130-16 (.890) since the 2001 season.
DEFENDING THE CROWN -- The 2004 USC team became the first squad in the brief four-year history of the NCAA-sponsored championship to go undefeated with a 29-0 record. The Women of Troy defeated Loyola Marymount, 10-8, in the national championship match for the program's second national title.
NOT IN A HAZE -- Sophomore Brittany Hayes (Santa Ana) leads the Women of Troy in scoring this season with 46 goals and is a finalist for the 2005 Peter J. Cutino Award as the nation's top collegiate player. Hayes earned 2005 All-MPSF first team honors. This season, she has registered three goals in a match six times. She recorded hat tricks in back-to-back matches on Feb. 18 against No. 8 San Diego State and Feb. 19 against No. 6 California. She led the Women of Troy with 59 goals last season, earning All-America second team honors. Hayes was the 2004 NCAA Championship most valuable player after scoring three goals and recording four assists in the national title match. With 105 career goals, Hayes is ninth on USC's career scoring list.
TWO-METER FORCE -- Junior two-meter Moriah Van Norman (San Diego) became the third USC player to win the Peter J. Cutino Award as the nation's top collegiate player (Bernice Orwig in 1999 and Aniko Pelle in 2000). She earned the award for the 2004 season after finishing second on the team in scoring with 58 goals as a dominating two-meter player. She also earned All-America first team honors. This season, Van Norman has 35 goals and is now fifth on USC's all-time scoring list with 158 career goals while earning 2005 All-MPSF second team honors.
WINGING IT -- Junior Lauren Wenger (Long Beach) is having a breakout season for the Women of Troy. She is second on the team in scoring this season with 40 goals, earning All-MPSF second team honors. She scored four goals on Feb. 5 in an 18-4 win against Cal State San Bernardino and a career-high six goals on Feb. 25 in a 16-4 win over Santa Clara. In her 2003 freshman season, she registered a career-high 27 goals.
GOLD MEDAL DUO -- Sophomore utility players Brittany Hayes and Erika Figge (Rancho Santa Margarita) not only celebrated their freshman seasons at USC with the national title, but recently earned gold medals with the U.S. Junior National Team at the 2005 FINA World Junior Championship in Australia. Figge also earned All-America second team honors, scoring 33 goals last season for the Women of Troy. This season, Figge has scored 31 goals.
IN THE MIX -- Senior Sarah Mix (Huntington Beach) was the team's starter as a freshman and is the No. 1 goalie again in her final year at USC. She has appeared in 18 matches this season and registered 113 saves.
PARDO(N) THE INTERRUPTION -- Senior two-meter defender Anna Pardo (Barcelona, Spain) earned All-America second team honors last season after scoring 36 goals for the Women of Troy. Pardo competed on Spain's 2003 Senior National Team while being a member of the Junior National Team from 1997-2003. This season, she has 25 goals.
ALEXANDRA THE GREAT -- Redshirt sophomore goalie Alexandra Lopez (Commerce) has been getting some playing time in the cage this season. She registered a career-high 12 saves on Feb. 19 in a 12-8 win over No. 6 California. On the season, she has played in nine matches and recorded 41 saves.
SISTER ACT -- This season, USC has not one, but two sets of sisters on the team. Junior two-meter defender Lauren Wenger (Long Beach) and sophomore utility, Jana, comprise one sister tandem while senior driver Melissa Madrid (Commerce) is joined by her sophomore sister, Denise.