USC Scores NCAA Semifinal Spot With 12-6 Win Over Michigan|
May 12, 2017
INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- The USC women's water polo team issued a depth charge in today's NCAA Tournament opener, notching 10 Trojans on the scoresheet while all three USC goalies hauled in a combined 21 saves to register a 12-6 win over Michigan and advance to the NCAA Semifinals. USC goes to 29-3 overall with the win and earns a place in tomorrow's semifinals against Stanford at 5 p.m. ET at IU Natatorium in Indianapolis, Ind.
Maud Megens kicked off her first NCAA action with a sizzling goal to open up a 1-0 lead for the Trojans. Michigan would fire back a minute later in finding the top corner of the cage to knot it up 1-1, but the Trojans would lock in from there. While goalie Amanda Longan kept the Wolverines at bay, USC rattled in six straight goals to maneuver out ahead. Longan had 10 saves by halftime, and seven USC scorers had hit the back of the net to lead USC to a 7-2 halftime advantage. After Michigan's early equalizer, Stephania Haralabidis rifled in a 6-on-5 score to light the fuse on a USC scoring surge. Ioanna Haralabidis would hit Brigitta Games for an impressive finish on another USC power play, and that would wrap the first frame as a 3-1 USC lead. On the opening possession of the second, USC's Brianna Daboub issued a searing blast that was too hot to handle for the Michigan defense. Stephania Haralabidis would come up with a couple clutch steals, then found sister Ioanna for a rocket that made it 5-1. Next, Kelsey McIntosh set up the next two Trojan goals, first feeding Hayley McKelvey for a nifty lob, then replicating that effort for Avery Peterson, who also landed a nice lob through to make it a 7-1 USC advantage. Michigan broke its silence soon after, but that was all the Wolverines would manage in the half as USC gripped a 7-2 lead at the break.
Longan gave way to Victória Chamorro in the third frame, and she, too, would make some big stops for the Trojan cause. Eight saves later, Chamorro was spelled by Holly Parker for the final three minutes, and the freshman made three strong saves while allowing just a single Michigan 6-on-5 to get through. Michigan had opened the second half with a 6-on-5 score, only to see USC respond with one of its own -- a well-executed series that had Megens hit Ioanna Haralabidis, who served up her sister Stephania for the slam and an 8-3 USC lead. That also marked the senior lefty's 82nd goal of the year, marking the third most single-season goals tallied by a Trojan. USC would plug in a string of three goals on Stephania's spark, with Annika Jensen sizzling in a score to make it 9-3 before freshman McIntosh became the ninth Trojan to score, getting USC ahead 10-3. McKelvey would put a stop to Michigan's final scoring chance of the third with a resounding field block, and the fourth frame was next on the docket. There, Michigan took advantages of a couple offensive lapses by the Trojans to tally back-to-back goals and make it 10-5. Megens settled things down in rising up for a 6-on-5 bullet to net an 11-5 lead for USC, and that's when Parker checked in for work in the cage. Michigan got its final power play of the game to go, making it 11-6, but USC had the last word when Peterson popped a pass out to fellow senior Nikki Stansfield for a crosscage ripper that would wrap the game as a 12-6 USC victory.
The No. 3 seeded Trojans will set up for a semifinal clash against No. 2 seeded Stanford tomorrow (April 13) in a rematch of last year's NCAA Championship. USC is looking to get back to the final and claim back-to-back national championships for the first time in program history. USC and Stanford will square off at 5 p.m ET at the IU Natatorium to fight for a right to the championship match on Sunday (April 14) at 3 p.m. ET.
2017 NATIONAL COLLEGIATE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Indianapolis, Ind.)