Jovan Vavic Again Named National Coach of the Year
July 2, 2013
For the fourth time in his USC head coaching career, Jovan Vavic has not only collected two championship trophies in one academic year, he has claimed back-to-back National Coach of the Year honors. Following the USC women's water polo team's run to the 2013 NCAA Championship, Vavic has been named ACWPC National Coach of the Year for the 12th time, leading a group of seven Women of Troy on the list for All-American accolades this season.
In the 2012-13 school year, Vavic saw his teams combined lose only one game. After the USC men went undefeated en route to a fifth straight national championship, Vavic guided the USC women to a 27-1 finish in 2013 as the Women of Troy captured their fourth national title. In all, as the head of the USC men's and women's programs, Vavic has now collected 12 National Coach the Year awards. Also the 2013 MPSF Coach of the year, Vavic now holds a career coaching record on the USC women's side of 440-132. This season was the fourth time in program history that the USC women have matched the USC men with a championship trophy in the same academic year (also done in 1998-99, 2003-04 and 2009-10).
To do so, Vavic assembled a powerful group of Women of Troy in 2013. Three Trojans -- Flora Bolonyai, Anni Espar and Monica Vavic -- have thus earned First Team All-American honors, joined by Second Team All-American Hannah Buckling, Third Team All-American Kaleigh Gilchrist and All-American Honorable Mention recipients Kelly Mendoza and Madeline Rosenthal. Espar, Buckling, Mendoza and Rosenthal all have picked up the first All-American honors of their careers with this year's selection. Bolonyai now boasts status as a three-time All-American, while Gilchrist and Vavic are now two-time All-Americans.
Junior goalie Flora Bolonyai was the NCAA Tournament MVP following her dominating work in the cage. She set a career high with 17 saves in the NCAA championship game, coming up with unbelievable clutch saves as she anchored the Women of Troy through triple sudden-death overtime to beat Stanford 10-9 in the title match. That effort helped bring home the 2013 crown for USC, as Bolonyai averaged over 10 saves per game through the MPSF and NCAA tournaments. She'd finish the year with 222 saves, averaging 8.4 per game while allowing just 5.1 goals per game. Also honored on the All-MPSF First Team in 2013, Bolonyai would go on to shine as a Capital One Academic First Team All-American -- joining an elite group of Trojans and becoming USC water polo's first-ever member of that list. The 2012 Olympian for Hungary was named an NCAA.com Player to Watch to open the 2013 season.
In her first season as a Trojan, 2012 Olympic silver medalist Anni Espar certainly made a splash for USC. The true freshman broke up a marathon of 45 minutes and 47 seconds of water polo when she blasted the golden goal for the Women of Troy in the 2013 NCAA Championship game. She averaged 1.8 goals per game in the season, and scored two in each game of the MPSF and NCAA tournaments. She'd pick up spots on the NCAA All-Tournament First Team and the MPSF All-Tournament Team to go along with her selections to the All-MPSF First Team and MPSF All-Newcomer Team. Having provided 31 goals for USC in her first season, the Spaniard is now on the board with First Team All-American status.
Named the MPSF Player of the Year, sophomore Monica Vavic led the Trojans and the MPSF with 77 goals in 2013, tallying the third-most goals in a single season in USC history. Her career tally now sits at 117 to rank her No. 15 all-time in scoring at Troy as she now holds her second selection as a First Team All-American. Vavic also led USC in steals and was second in assists in 2013, while scoring in 27 different games. An All-MPSF First Team pick, she was also selected to the MPSF All-Tournament Team.
In her first season as a Trojan, Australian import Hannah Buckling came up big for the Women of Troy. Third on the team in scoring with 40 goals, Buckling provided 2.3 goals per game through the MPSF and NCAA tournaments. She'd be named the MPSF Tournament MVP, and went on to lead the Trojans with four goals in the NCAA Championship game en route to her status as a Second Team All-American. Buckling was named to the MPSF All-Newcomer Team and earned All-MPSF Honorable Mention before landing a spot on the NCAA All-Tournament Second Team in helping USC win its fourth national championship.
Team captain Kaleigh Gilchrist is now a two-time All-American with this year's pick as a Third Team All-American. A junior, Gilchrist was USC's second leading scorer with 45 goals, running up her career total to 107 to rank No. 18 all-time at Troy. The Trojans' assists leader, Gilchrist was also honored with spots on the NCAA All-Tournament First Team and All-MPSF Second Team this season.
On the All-American Honorable Mention list are two first-time All-Americans. For junior Madeline Rosenthal, her performance in the NCAA Championship game -- scoring two huge early goals for the Women of Troy -- helped lock her in with All-American Honorable Mention this season. Rosenthal finished with 23 goals in 2013. Also with 23 goals scored as a junior, Kelly Mendoza joined the USC roster this season as a transfer from Cal. Mendoza, too, came up big in the NCAA title match with a strong defensive effort and a crucial overtime goal that gave USC a big lift in the final. Mendoza now has her first career All-American award with her All-American Honorable Mention.
In all, three of USC's seven 2013 All-Americans played their first season as Trojans in 2013. Buckling, Espar and Mendoza were all first-year players for the Women of Troy. All seven Trojans will return to USC next season.
National Coach of the Year:
Second Team All-American:
Third Team All-American:
Jovan Vavic'S HONOR ROLL