March 1, 2017
USC Water Polo Release
Freshly inked as the No. 1 team in the land, the USC women are eying another breakthrough this week as they carry a 45-game win streak into their MPSF opener in Bakersfield. The nation's longest women's win streak stands at 46 in a row, giving the Trojans an opportunity to match that record this weekend. At 18-0 overall in 2017, USC is set to visit CSU Bakersfield at 1 p.m. on Saturday (March 4)
USC IN THE RANKINGS
THE LAST MEETING
April 3, 2016
Uytengsu Aquatics Center
Top-Ranked Trojans Buckle Down To Beat CSU Bakersfield 16-3
The No. 1 USC women’s water polo team put its balance on full display in today’s MPSF matchup against CSU Bakersfield as the Trojans shut out the Roadrunners in the first half and unleashed two sizable scoring surges to pin up a 16-3 win at Uytengsu Aquatics Center. Sisters Ioanna and Stephania Haralabidis each plugged in four goals for the Trojan cause to help pace USC to the win. The Trojans improve to 17-0 overall while stepping out to a 3-0 mark in MPSF play.
USC opened 2016 ranked No. 2 in the national preseason poll and in the MPSF preseason poll. After spending the first seven weeks of the season at No. 2, USC has climbed to No. 1 this week following the Trojans’ win over top-ranked Stanford on Feb. 26.
The No. 23 Roadrunners are 8-7 overall and 0-1 in MPSF play after collecting four nonconference wins last week. Ashley Paz is CSUB's top scorer with 21 goals to date, while goalie Courtney Wahlstrom is averaging 8.3 saves and 7.8 goals-against per game. USC is 13-0 all-time against the Roardunner after a 16-3 MPSF win last season in Los Angeles.
The USC women are riding a 45-game win streak now -- dating back to the final game of 2015 and including an undefeated 2016 to add to this season's 18-0 mark so far. With the Trojans' overtime win over then-No. 1 Stanford at the Barbara Kalbus Invitational, the USC women broke the USC men's best winning run of 44 in a row (2005-06). Now, the Women of Troy have their eyes on breaking the national women's win streak record of 46, set by UCLA from 2007-09.
BIG WINS IN IRVINE
The nation's best teams tangled last weekend in Irvine at the Barbara Kalbus Invitational, and the Women of Troy emerged as the champion in another key tournament with a winning run at the 2017 event. After pinning up its first shutout win of the year to open the tourney, topping No. 20 LMU 14-0 behind a four-goal game from Ioanna Haralabidis and 10 saves from Amanda Longan, USC closed down group play with a 12-4 win over No. 7 Hawai'i. Haralabidis added four more in that one, while goalie Victória Chamorro had a career-high 17 saves to get USC through to the semifinals. There, the Trojans would face rival UCLA for the first time this year, and USC was able to shrug off an early 3-2 deficit and more out ahead of the Bruins for a final 10-9 victory to seal a trip to the title match once again. In a rematch of the 2016 NCAA Championship game, USC was up against top-ranked Stanford, and the game lived up to its billing. The Cardinal tied up the game at the end of the third quarter and then again later in the fourth to bring up overtime. There, USC would issue back-to-back scores to take a lead in the first overtime frame. In the second, Stanford struck first, but USC struck last when it mattered, netting a blast from Haralabidis to go up 10-9 with five second left, and USC would fend off the Cardinal for the win. Brianna Daboub led the scoring charge for USC with three goals, while Longan gathered in 12 saves to help keep the Cardinal at bay. For her 10 goals logged at the tournament, including that OT game-winner, Ioanna Haralabidis picked up her first career selection as MPSF Player of the Week. Along the way, Haralabidis also moved up to rank as USC's No. 10 all-time scorer.
USC rolled its way to another Triton Invitational title in the Trojans' most recent action, beating four teams to claim the tournament championship on Feb. 12 in La Jolla. Led by five goals from Maud Megens, USC opened up with an 18-2 win over Santa Clara to start the first day of play. That afternoon, Brigitta Gamesand Stephania Haralabidis each had hat tricks to help lift USC to a 17-4 win over San Diego State. The next day, USC put its silencers on in the fourth period of both contests to top off another run to a Triton Invitational championship. In the semifinal round against No. 6 Michigan, USC worked out ahead of the Wolverines to notch a 9-5 win and move on to the title match. There, the Trojans poured on a run of eight consecutive goals, rendering the Sun Devils scoreless as USC crafted a 12-2 lead entering the final minute of the game. One last big save from goalie Victória Chamorro — her 12th save of the game — wrapped up the resounding victory for the Trojans, while Haralabidis finished off a hat trick during the surge to victory.
VIC PICKS UP MPSF ACCOLADES
Junior goalie Victória Chamorro gave up just four goals and accumulated 19 saves in her two appearances in the cage for the Trojans at the Triton Invitational. For her stellar efforts on the defensive end, Chamorro picked up her first career selection as MPSF Player of the Week on Feb. 14. In a complete-game effort in the championship match against #5 Arizona State, Chamorro collected 12 saves while allowing just two goals to the Sun Devils in a 12-2 championship win for the Trojans. The previous day, she checked in for three periods of work against #17 San Diego State and made seven saves in that stretch while allowing just two goals through by the Aztecs. Chamorro’s effort in the cage helped USC successfully defend its Triton Invite title and improve to 14-0 on the year. With 356 career saves to her name to date, Chamorro ranks No. 6 all-time on the Trojans’ career saves list. She's gone big this season with several powerful performances, collecting 11 saves in a single half of work at UCSB, and gathering a career-high 17 saves in a win over Hawai'i already this year.
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.
BY THE NUMBERS
Through the first 18 games of 2017, undefeated USC has outscored opponents 305-70. Senior Stephania Haralabidis is the top scorer to date with 54 goals — giving her 239 career goals to lock her in at No. 3 on USC's all-time scoring chart. Behind her on the 2017 scoresheet sits twin sister Ioanna Haralabidis with 36 goals and freshman Maud Megens with 33 goals to date. On the defensive end, three goalies have checked into the cage to date. Sophomore AmandaLongan has logged minutes in 12 games, averaging 10.7 saves and 4.5 goals-against per game. Junior goalie Victória Chamorro has appeared in seven games and averages 11.5 saves and 2.9 goals-against per game. Freshman Holly Parker has also capped up in her first year as a Trojans, making 12 saves and allowing just seven goals in her six appearances. The Trojan defense has opponents silent in at least one period of play in 14 different games while accumulating a grand total of 30 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 18 games into 2017, she is already closing the gap on the No. 2 spot, holding 239 career goals to date — 16 away from that next rung on the career ladder. Ioanna, meanwhile, started out 2017 at No. 20 in the record books. After 18 games, she has catapulted to No. 10 all-time, holding 154 career goals as of Feb. 27. 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 346 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 252 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 69 career goals to her name, Peterson stands out as a 2-meter power for the Trojans. Daboub has rung up 79 goals to date.
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 finalistBrigitta 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. •