No. 1 USC Falls For First Time Since 2015 With Loss To No. 2 Stanford|
April 8, 2017
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- After a record-setting 52-game win streak, the No. 1 USC women's water polo team fell to the last team to beat it with tonight's 12-8 loss to visiting No. 2 Stanford. The Trojans had claimed the last five wins over the Cardinal -- including the 2016 NCAA Championship game -- but tonight Stanford had the upper hand. At USC's Uytengsu Aquatics Center, the Trojans trailed throughout and got within one during the third period before the Cardinal fired off a five-goal rally to take control. USC goes to 25-1 overall and to 3-1 in MPSF play with the loss, while Stanford improves to 17-1, 4-0.
Stanford clicked off the first two goals of the game before USC senior Brigitta Games ripped in a backhand out of set to get USC on the board midway through the first period. USC's sophomore goalie Amanda Longan served up a huge save against a dangerous Stanford one-on-one change at close range next, and Avery Peterson would nab a steal next to stymie Stanford, but the Cardinal got a blast through soon after, and it was a 3-1 Stanford lead at the end of the first. Stanford struck again in the first minute of the second period before senior sisters Ioanna Haralabidis and Stephania Haralabidis connected for a searing strike from Stephania to cut it to 4-2. The Cardinal would convert on a 6-on-5 opportunity a couple minutes later, then got a lob to go to build a 6-2 advantage over its top-ranked hosts. Again, Games had a huge power move and finish at the ready, firing it to the back of the net to give USC a lift and make it 6-3. Stanford got a goal to go to beat the shot clock and build out a 7-3 advantage before USC managed its first back-to-back strikes. Peterson would get USC up on a 6-on-5, and freshman Denise Mammolito rifled in a quick strike to make it 7-4. Less than a minute later, Hayley McKelvey hammered home another 6-on-5 finish, and it was a two-goal game in the final minute of the half.
The teams fell into a stalemate in the early goings of the third until another USC 6-on-5 saw Brianna Daboub find Ioanna Haralabidis for a ripper that tugged it to a one-goal game, with the Trojans trailing 7-6. That tight margin lasted less than 30 seconds, however. Stanford got some padding with a 6-on-5 finish of their own, then added to it with a score off a foul in the final minute, and it was 9-6 Stanford to enter the fourth. The Cardinal would keep clicking in the fourth after a 6-on-5 miss by the Trojans. Three more Stanford goals would follow as USC fell into a 12-6 hole with four minutes left. USC would manage two more goals -- Games' third with another searing strike out of set and a 6-on-5 blast from Ioanna Haralabidis -- to wrap it as a 12-8 Stanford victory.
With its final home game of the 2017 in the books, USC turns to take a trip to Berkeley next weekend. The Trojans will face Cal in a 1 p.m. MPSF match on Saturday (April 15).
#2 Stanford 12, #1 USC 8
SAVES: Amanda Longan (USC) 7, Gabby Stone (STAN) 11.