No. 3 USC To Play For Third At MPSF Tournament|
April 25, 2015
TEMPE, ARIZ. -- The No. 3 USC women's water polo team was threatening overtime against No. 2 seeded UCLA in before the Bruins took the lead and then was awarded a late 5-meter penalty shot to pull out of reach for a 9-7 decision today's MPSF semifinal. The Trojans had grabbed a first-half lead, but the Bruins leveled it by halftime to prompt a second-half battle. By the final buzzer, though, UCLA had the win in-hand, advancing to tomorrow's championship game while USC will play in the third-place game at 12:30 p.m. at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Complex in Tempe, Ariz.
UCLA opened the busy day with a score three minutes into the game, only to see USC's freshman goalie Victória Chamorro put a stop to the Bruins' 6-on-5 opportunity soon after, holding the score at 1-0. USC's offense kicked into gear next, with Monica Vavic ripping in a shot from the perimeter to equalize things. The senior would intercept a UCLA pass at the defensive end, and then Ioanna Haralabidis earned a 5-meter penalty shot for the Trojans cause at the other end of the pool. Vavic promptly deposited that one into the back of the net, and USC had the lead, up 2-1 on the Bruins with 32 seconds left in the first.
In the second, USC added to its advantage early. After Stephania Haralabidis won the sprint, USC got up on another power play. Eike Daube took care of things with a blast that proved too powerful for the UCLA defense, and USC was up 3-1. USC came up with key stops after, but UCLA broke through when Rachel Fattal plugged in a score for the Bruins. That would be the first of six goals from Fattal, whose hot hand just kept breathing life into the UCLA cause. USC's Brigitta Games was rewarded for her hard work at set, earning another 5-meter for the Trojans -- this one finished off by Stephania Haralabidis to plump up the USC lead to two again, up 4-2. But Fattal would strike again on a UCLA 6-on-5 soon after, and then UCLA slipped in a skipper before the close of the half to hold things even at 4-4 at halftime.
UCLA would get a trip to the 5-meter mark early in the third, and Fattal slotted it for her third of the day and a 5-4 UCLA lead. A bar-in blast from the Bruins built a 6-4 lead for UCLA before USC ended the four-goal run with a 6on-5 conversation. Vavic found Jennifer Stiefel for a nearside strike that tugged it back to a one-goal game, with USC down 6-5 midway through the third. Both teams would hold their ground through the rest of the frame, keeping it as a 6-5 UCLA advantage entering the fourth.
There, Fattal would account for three more UCLA scores. The Bruins took a 7-5 lead on a 6-on-5 finish from Fattal, but USC fired back. Ioanna Haralabidis laced a rocket to the top corner to make it 7-6, and USC would nab two takeaways next to charge up the offense again. On a 6-on-5, Brianna Daboub hit Stephania Haralabidis for a nearside bullet that pulled the game even again, locked at 7-7 with 2:50 on the clock. Hayley McKelvey came up with the steal next, but after USC misfired on its ensuing offensive series, UCLA slotted the go-ahead goal from Fattal with 1:27 to go. Up 8-7 and with the shot clock winding down, UCLA would be awarded a 5-meter penalty shot that would seal the deal for the Bruins. Fattal finished off the shot with 25 seconds left, and USC was left with a 9-7 loss to the Bruins. Both goalies had big days in the cage, as Chamorro finished with 11 for the Trojans and Sami Hill added 15 for UCLA.
USC will face Stanford in the third-place game tomorrow (April 26) at 12:30 p.m. at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Complex in Tempe, Ariz.
2015 MPSF TOURNAMENT (Tempe, Ariz.)
SAVES: Victória Chamorro (USC) 11, Sami Hill (UCLA) 15.