No. 2 USC Takes Down No. 1 Stanford In OT To Win Tournament Title|
Feb. 26, 2017
IRVINE, CALIF. -- The No. 2 USC women's water polo team stuck No. 1 Stanford with an upset as the Trojans pulled out an overtime victory today to claim the championship at the Barbara Kalbus Invitational in Irvine, Calif. The Cardinal had closed in to tie up the game at the end of the third quarter and then again later in the fourth to bring up overtime. There, USC would issue back-to-back scores to take a lead in the first overtime frame. In the second, Stanford struck first, but USC struck last when it mattered, netting a blast from Ioanna Haralabidis to go up 10-9 with five second left, and USC would fend off the Cardinal for the win.
Now 18-0 overall in 2017, the Women of Troy now boast a 45-game win streak spanning back to the final game of 2015. That edges out the USC men's best run of 44 straight wins from 2005-06, and puts the Trojans a win away from matching the overall women's record streak of 46 in a row held by UCLA.
Today's title match at the Barbara Kalbus Invitational offered up a rematch of the 2016 NCAA Championship game, with USC won on a half court shot scored by Stephania Haralabidis with six seconds left in regulation. This time, it was sister Ioanna Haralabidis who came through with the heroic final goal, netting the game-winner in overtime with five seconds to go. Brigitta Games got USC up on a 6-on-5 chance with 19 seconds left, and Ioanna punched it in to net a 10-9 lead for USC. That snapped the seventh tie of the game and served to secure victory for the Trojans in a hard-fought battle between the nation's top two teams.
The Cardinal had claimed the first lead of the game with the opening goal out of the gates, only to see the Trojans fight back with three straight scores. Brianna Daboub plugged in the early equalizer, and the fellow captain Avery Peterson turned and rocketed in a score out of set for a 2-1 USC advantage. That would hold for the end of the first frame, and then Stephania Haralabidis struck to start the second, taking USC ahead 3-1. Stanford fired right back with two goals to equalize it at 3-3, and then Brigitta Games brought the Trojans back on top, up 4-3 to wrap the first half.
USC goalie Amanda Longan opened the second half with a huge stop against a Stanford 6-on-5, and then her Trojans converted on the other end as Peterson got USC up on a power play that Daboub would finish off for a 5-3 USC lead. Again the Cardinal had a response, plugging in two more boas before the close of the third to lock it up at 5-5 entering the fourth. There, Ioanna Haralabidis hit Hayley McKelvey for a counterattack strike and a 6-5 USC lead, only to see Stanford earn a 5-meter penalty shot and connect to make it 6-6. Midway through the fourth, Peterson ripped in a backhand blast to nudge USC ahead 7-6, but Stanford got another 6-on-5 to go, and it was snarled again at 7-7. Neither team could connect the rest of the way, bringing up overtime action to decide the tournament title.
Stanford got the early leg up to take an 8-7 lead, but USC punched in two goals in the final minute of the first OT frame. McKelvey rifled in the equalizer, and the Daboub issued her third goal of the game to take her Trojans to a 9-8 lead in the final seconds of the first overtime. In the second, Stanford pulled even once more with a skip shot that tangled it up at 9-9 with 55 seconds remaining. That's when Games came through to earn a 6-on-5 situation for the Trojans with 19 ticks to go, setting up Ioanna Haralabidis for the finishing touch -- a blast with 5 seconds to go that would stand as the game-winner for the streaking Trojans.
USC now turns to its first MPSF match of the year, heading to Bakersfield for a 1 p.m. standoff on Saturday (March 4) against the host Roadrunners.
SAVES: Amanda Longan (USC) 12, Gabby Stone (STAN) 10.