No. 1 USC Stays In Control Of MPSF With 8-3 Win At No. 3 Stanford|
April 16, 2016
PALO ALTO, CALIF. -- The No. 1 USC women's water polo churned out its 20th win of 2016 in dominating fashion, whipping up a solid 8-3 win over No. 3 Stanford in the Cardinal's home pool today. The top-ranked Trojans kicked out to a 3-0 lead on their hosts and didn't let the Cardinal get any closer than two goals down the stretch as USC tightened its vice grip on the top of the MPSF standings by handing Stanford its first loss in conference action. Hayley McKelvey's second hat trick of the season came at an opportune time as she helped pace the Trojans to victory. USC is now 20-0 overall and 5-0 in MPSF play, while Stanford goes to 19-3, 4-1.
USC's win today also secured the top seed and a first-round bye for the coming MPSF Tournament. The Trojans will play their first match in the semifinal round at 2:30 p.m. on April 30 in Bakersfield.
Brigitta Games served up the spark for the Women of Troy in drumming up the first goal of the day on USC's very first possession. Hayley McKelvey's first of three goals came a minute later, prompting the Trojan defense to continue to clamp down on the Cardinal. Stanford would come up scoreless for the first 13 minutes of the game while USC built a 3-0 lead. McKelvey's second strike gave USC the three-goal lead before Stanford finally broke through. The 3-1 USC advantage would stand through to halftime as both defenses stood tall through to the break.
In the second, USC hit the gas again when Stephania Haralabidis finished off a USC power play to make it 4-1 three minutes into the third frame. Again, Stanford was able to fire off a quick response to make it 4-2, but USC would unleash a three-goal response that spanned into the fourth. Haralabidis rifled one through to make it 5-2 entering the fourth, and USC promptly ballooned its lead with back-to-back scores slotted by Brianna Daboub and McKelvey. Up 7-2 with 6:34 left to play, USC would see Stanford slip one goal in a minute later, but that would be all the Trojan defense would allow. Ioanna Haralabidis hammered home a score to make it 8-3 with 1:29 to go, and goalie Amanda Longan would close up shop on the defensive end. The freshman knocked down a couple more key saves to expand her career-high count to 17 on the day, and USC's decisive 8-3 victory over Stanford was in the books.
The undefeated Trojans now look to close out a perfect regular season with one last home game next week. USC hosts California in a 2 p.m. MPSF matchup on Friday (April 22) in a clash that will be televised by Pac-12 Networks.
#1 USC 8, #3 Stanford 3
SAVES: Amanda Longan (USC) 17, Julia Hermann (STAN) 7.