No. 2 USC Digs In For Doubleheader At CBU Mini Invitational|
Jan. 25, 2017
The No. USC women's water polo team takes the 5-0 record it collected last week back on the road this weekend. The Trojans are lined up for a doubleheader at the Cal Baptist Mini Invitational on Saturday (Jan. 22). There, USC (5-0) will face Concordia (0-0) at 12:45 p.m. and then Whitter (0-0) at 2 p.m. as the 2017 continues for the defending national champions.
USC IN THE RANKINGS
USC opened 2016 ranked No. 2 in the national preseason poll and in the MPSF preseason poll. USC remains the No. 2 team in the land in this third week of 2017 competition.
STEPH STRIKES IT BIG AT WINTER INVITE
Stephania Haralabidis set a new career high and tied the MPSF single-game record with nine goals scored in the final game of the Winter Invitational over the weekend. Now, the senior has picked up her fourth career selection as the MPSF Player of the Week and the first of 2017. Haralabidis’ nine-goal outburst came in USC’s 19-5 win over No. 9 host UC Santa Barbara, marking the Trojans’ fifth straight win at the event. Haralabidis let all USC scorers with 17 goals totaled across those five games. She opened the season with a single goal scored in a 17-3 win over No. 8 Michigan on day one. On the second day, Haralabidis scored twice in a 22-1 win over Cal Baptist and punched in two more in a 16-3 win over CSUN. The final day was Haralabidis’ big one, as she had a hat trick in a 13-8 win over No. 5 Hawai’i before the record nine-goal explosion against UCSB.
USC whipped up five wins over three days of work at the Winter Invitational in Santa Barbara last week, beating No. 5 Michigan 11-3 on Friday, No. 22 Cal Baptist 22-1 and No. 23 Cal State Northridge 16-3 on Saturday, and then topping No. 5 Hawai'i 13-8 and host No. 9 UC Santa Barbara 19-5 on Sunday. Freshmen Maud Megens and Denise Mammolito highlighted the season opener with a pair of goals apiece in their Trojan debuts while sophomore goalie Amanda Longan hauled in 13 saves in the win, helping the USC defense shut out the Wolverines in the last 21 minutes, 20 seconds of play. On Saturday, sophomore Courtney Fahey dished out a career-high four goals to pace the Trojans to a 22-1 win over Cal Baptist, with goalie Victória Chamorro collecting 11 saves and coming just moments away from a complete-game shutout as the Lancers final broke through in the final minute. Against CSUN, Megens and senior Ioanna Haralabidis each turned in a hat trick apiece, while Longan and freshman Holly Parker split time in the cage. USC's offense remained hot on the final day of play, with the Haralabidis sisters combining for seven goals to lead the way to a 13-8 win over the Rainbow Wahine. The capper to the event saw USC take out host UC Santa Barbara behind a record-tying performance by Stephania Haralabidis, who scored nine goals in the 19-5 win to equal the MPSF record for most goals scored in a single game.
BY THE NUMBERS
Through the first 5 games of 2017, undefeated USC has outscored opponents 81-20. Senior Stephania Haralabidis is the top scorer to date with 17 goals — giving her 202 career goals and putting her two goals away from moving up to the No. 7 all-time scoring slot. Behind her on the 2017 scoresheet sits twin sister Ioanna Haralabidis with 11 goals and freshman Maud Megens with 10 goals score in her first five games as a Trojan. On the defensive end, three goalies have checked into the cage to date. Sophomore Amanda Longan has logged minuted in three games, averaging 9.6 saves and 5.2 goals-against per game. Junior goalie Victória Chamorro has appeared in two games and has hauled in 11 saves in both showings while giving up just three total goals. One of those 11-save outings came in just one half of action at UCSB. Freshman Holly Parker has also capped up in her first year as a Trojans, making seven saves and allowing just four goals in her two appearances. The Trojan defense has held four opponents silent in at least one period of play while accumulating a grand total of eight shutout periods this season so far.
ON THE RISE
Greek twins Stephania Haralabidis and Ioanna Haralabidis are climbing in the USC record books. Stephania opened 2016 ranked as USC's No. 8 all-time career scorer. Now five games into 2017, is closing the gap on the No. 7 spot, holding 202 career goals to date. — just two away from that next rung on the career ladder. Ioanna, meanwhile, started out 2017 at No. 20 in the record books. After five games, she has catapulted to No. 16 all-time, holding 129 career goals as of Jan. 23. While those two are rising in the ranks on the offensive end, two Trojans are making their marks on the USC career saves sheet. Junior Victória Chamorro — who set a USC freshman goalie record with 207 saves in her first season at Troy — now boasts 296 career saves to rank No. 6 on the career saves charts. Sophomore Amanda Longan is a spot behind, sitting at No. 7 all-time with her 169 saves and counting.
OH CAPTAINS, MY CAPTAINS
USC's leadership corps is a veteran pair, with senior Avery Peterson and junior Brianna Daboub standing tall as USC's team captains for the second straight season. Both All-Americans and All-MPSF Honorable Mention recipients, they also are both MPSF Scholar-Athletes. And of course, they captained the Trojans to an undefeated 2016 season to claim their first national crowns. With 59 career goals to her name, Peterson stands out as a 2-meter power for the Trojans. Daboub has rung up 61 goals to date, including a career-best hat trick tallied in the 2016 MPSF Championship game.
BRINGING BACK THE BALANCE
USC's 2017 roster looks strikingly similar to last year's NCAA Championship crew. The Trojans' overall balance is back, with all six top scorers returning, along with an All-American pairing of goalies in sophomore Amanda Longan and junior Victória Chamorro back in the cage. In all, the returning Trojans accounted for 88 percent of the scoring last year, while Longan and Chamorro combined for an average of 8.8 saves and 4.7 goals-allowed per game in 2016.
Senior captain Avery Peterson is one of five seniors on the roster for 2017, joined by fellow All-Americans Brigitta Games, Ioanna Haralabidis and Stephania Haralabidis, along with Nikki Stansfield. A further depth charge of veteran talent with winning experience comes from juniors Brianna Daboub, Annika Jensen and Hayley McKelvey. All warriors, all competitors, and all fiercely devoted to their team and the task at hand.
On last year's All-American list, there was one USC freshman standing tall among them. At 6-foot-2 Amanda Longan was an impact player as soon as she splashed down at Troy, Longan quickly made herself at home as half of an impressive goalkeeping tandem for the Trojans — sharing time with 2015 All-American and Brazilian Olympian Victória Chamorro. Now a junior-sophomore goalkeeping tandem, Chamorro and Longan are yet another expression of the youth movement making waves alongside USC’s juniors and seniors. They have some backup this year as well, with freshman Holly Parker having proven herself fully capable of stepping into the cage as she has logged seven saves and allowed only three goals in her six periods of action so far.
THE NEW CREW
When it comes to this year’s freshman class, there are already several new faces that are forcing opponents to take notice. Dutch import Maud Megens has emerged as the headliner so far. She tallied 10 goals in her first five games of action to stand as USC's third leading scorer after that first week of work. Denise Mammolito also made noise in week one, punching up six goals, while fellow freshmen Elise Stein, Sawyer Belville and Kaylee Brownsberger also notched their first career goals as Trojans in those first days of competition at the UCSB Winter Invitational.
2017 TROJANS AT A GLANCE
The defending national champions are coming off an undefeated run through 2016, with head coach Jovan Vavic at the helm for the 23rd season. The USC women are looking to claim back-to-back national titles for the first time in program history. Their 13th consecutive NCAA appearance was a fortunate one, as the Trojans topped off 2016 by raising the NCAA trophy. Picked No. 2 in the National and MPSF Preseason Polls, the Trojans weigh in just behind top-picked Stanford for the second straight season. USC returns all six 2016 All-Americans, including Cutino Award winner Stephania Haralabidis and Cutino finalist Brigitta Games. In addition to those two powers — both seniors this year — USC has seven All-Americans on the roster for 2017. Both All-American captains, Brianna Daboub and Avery Peterson, return, having combined for 63 goals last year. Peterson's career-best 35 goals in 2016 was matched by Ioanna Haralabidis. In all, USC returns 12 members of last season’s 16-player NCAA roster. •