March 18, 2015
USC Water Polo Release
No. 3 USC has a business trip in Honolulu this week, combining training with two official games and one exhibition game over Spring Break. The Women of Troy (15-2) will first clash with Pomona-Pitzer while in Honolulu, taking on the Sagehens at 3 p.m. HT on Thursday (March 19) in the teams' second meeting of the year. The next day, USC faces host Hawai'i at 5:30 p.m. HT on Friday (March 20) in their first test this season. On Saturday (March 21), USC will play the Brazilian National Team in an exhibition match at 4 p.m. HT to wrap the week's action in Hawai'i.
USC IN THE RANKINGS
THE LAST MEETING
February 14, 2015
No. 3 USC Whips Up Two Powerful Wins To Wrap Lancer Invite
The No. 3 USC women's water polo team was an offensive powerhouse once more, pounding out two big wins to cap off the Lancer Invitational in Riverside, Calif. The Trojans improved their season record to 10-0 thanks to a 30-4 win over Pomona-Pitzer and a 31-2 victory over Occidental.
THE LAST MEETING
March 22, 2014
No. 1 USC Picks Up A Pair Of Wins On A Busy Day In Honolulu
Hawai'i isn't known for its busy days, but the No. 1 USC women's water polo team made it a successfully busy business trip to Honolulu yesterday (March 22) with a winning doubleheader. The top-ranked Trojans opened up their Saturday in paradise with a powerful 12-3 win over No. 12 Long Beach State before serving up a 14-6 victory over No. 11 host Hawai'i that same day. USC scored the first nine goals of the game against the 49ers and drummed the first 10 against the Rainbow Wahine en route to the pair of dominating victories. The Women of Troy are now 18-0 overall this season and riding a 25-game win streak that dates back to last season's run to the NCAA Championship.
THE LAST MEETING
May 8, 2009
College Park, Md.
No. 1 USC Scores 22 To Push Through To NCAA Semis
The top-seeded USC women's water polo team piled up a 22-2 win in its NCAA Quarterfinal game against Cal Lutheran to make a powerful move into tomorrow's semifinal game in College Park, Md. The Women of Troy boosted their winning streak up to 15 straight with today's win over the Regals, with goals coming from the hands of 11 different Trojans en route to the season-high 22 goals. Now 25-1 overall, USC will face No. 4 seed Hawai'i in an NCAA Semifinal showdown at 4 p.m. ET at Maryland's Eppley Recreation Center Natatorium.
USC opened 2015 ranked No. 3 in both the national and MPSF preseason polls. Now nine weeks into the season, the Trojans remain ranked as the nation's No. 3 team.
USC hit the gas in the second period to play to leave visiting No. 6 Arizona State in the dust as the Trojans rolled up a 17-9 win over the Sun Devils. Along the way, USC senior Monica Vavic punched up a four-goal game that propelled her to the top of USC's all-time scoring list. Now with 257 career goals, Vavic stands as USC's career scoring leader, having taken over the spot held by Olympian Aniko Pelle since 2002. Vavic was one of five Women of Troy to tally multiple-goal efforts in the win, and she'd pick up her fifth career selection as MPSF Player of the Week days later. The Sun Devils came ready to play, eager to replicate the upset win they managed in last year's MPSF Tournament matchup with USC at Uytengsu Aquatics Center. After a tight first period, ASU forced a 2-2 snarl with a 6-on-5 strike on its first possession of the second frame, but USC promptly switched gears. The Women of Troy opened up a daunting advantage with a rapid-fire six-goal surge. Jennifer Stiefel returned the favor on an earlier assist from Stephania Haralabidis to set up the spark. Haralabidis' ripper on a Trojan power play recorded the sophomore's 100th career goal and nudged USC to a 3-2 lead, which would balloon to an 8-2 margin just over four minutes later. Haralabidis struck twice during the scoring blitz, as did Stiefel, who was the first Trojan to hit a hat trick on the day. Melissa Bergesen got in on the action early, and Vavic broke the seal on her big day when she finished off a counterattack feed from Victória Chamorro to finish off the rally and make it 8-2. ASU would manage back-to-back goals before the halftime horn sounded, leaving it as an 8-4 USC lead at the break. Early on in the third, Haralabidis earned a 5-meter penalty shot for the Trojans, and Vavic lined up for the take. The senior delivered, and in doing so pulled even with Pelle at the No. 1 spot in the USC history books. The Sun Devils responded and made it 9-5 with a successful 6-on-5 just 30 seconds later, only to see the Women of Troy regroup and manufacture an even more powerful wave of goals. Seven straight USC scores came next, once again opened up with a blast from Haralabidis -- that one off a cross from Avery Peterson. Stiefel would serve up assists on the next two Trojan attacks, first to Eike Daube for a low-corner rocket that made it 11-5. Later, Stiefel found Vavic, and Vavic nailed the record-setter with a bullet to the back of the net -- giving the senior 256 career goals and taking the Trojans to a 12-5 advantage over the Sun Devils. Chamorro hit Vavic for one more, for good measure, soon after, and the Trojans were chugging right along well out of reach of the Sun Devils. Brigitta Games buried the fifth consecutive score for USC with a power move and finish from set to make it 14-5 at the close of the third. To open the final frame, Daube whipped in two more, first on a power play and then on a nifty score out of set to lift USC to a 16-5 lead with 6:24 left to play. ASU snapped the seven-goal surge with a 6-on-5 score on its next possession, only to see the Trojans do the same with a Jayde Appel blast just 30 seconds later, making it 17-7 Trojans. The Sun Devils scored the final three goals of the game, but USC's hefty lead held the hosts powerfully in control as the game wrapped up as a 17-9 Trojan victory.
The Sagehens are 9-6 overall after beating Occidental 17-5 and Bucknell 11-9 last week. Alyssa Woodward is Pomona-Pitzer's top scorer with 32 goals, and goalie Ahsha Earwood has made 102 saves in her 12 appearances this year. USC is 7-0 all-time against the Sagehens after a 30-4 win last month at the Lancer Invite.
The No. 7 Rainbow Wahine are 10-5 overall after beating Wagner 10-5 and Princeton 7-6 last weekend at the Aztec Invitational. Paula Chillida Esforzado returns as the team's top scorer with 52 goals scored last season, and goalie Sarah Logan is the starter after appearing in 10 matches last year. USC is 37-3 all-time against Hawai'i after a 14-6 win last season in Honolulu.
BY THE NUMBERS
Through these first 17 games of 2015, USC is outscoring opponents 306-76, leading the MPSF in offense and ranking third in defense to date. Senior Monica Vavic is the top scorer to date with 66 goals as she has climbed to No. 1 all-time in career scoring (257 career goals). Next in line in scoring this year is sophomore Stephania Haralabidis with 44 goals, followed by Ioanna Haralabidis with 29 and junior newcomer Melissa Bergesen and senior Eike Daube with 28 goals each. Daube cracked the 100-goal mark with her two-goal effort at UC Irvine on Feb. 28 and now holds 106 career goals to rank No. 21 all-time in scoring at USC. Stephania Haralabidis passed the century mark on March 13 vs. ASU, to now hold 102 career goals. On the defensive end, USC has a reliable new anchor in freshman goalie Victória Chamorro, who is averaging 6.8 saves per game and 4.5 goals-against per game in her 16 appearances to date.
UCI INVITE RECAP
USC went into the 2015 UCI Invitational defending back-to-back titles at the competitive early-season tournament. Seeded No. 3 for this year's edition, the Women of Troy opened up group play with an 11-3 win over No. 18 UC Santa Barbara and then stayed balanced and powerful in ending the first day with a 14-4 win over No. 6 Arizona State. That put the Trojans into the semifinals against rival No. 2 UCLA. That match presented more of a defensive battle, and USC would wind up short in the low-scoring affair, taking a 5-3 loss to the eventual tourney champion Bruins to move into the third-place game. There, USC was ready to go in a clash with No. 4 California. The Trojans peeled out ahead of the Bears and pinned up a 12-6 win to wrap the tourney on a winning note with a third-place finish. Monica Vavic was USC's top scorer at the event, punching up nine goals with scores in every game, including hat tricks vs. ASU and Cal. Fellow senior Eike Daube drummed up seven goals, also striking in every game and with a hat trick vs. UCSB. Sophomore Ioanna Haralabidis also registered a hat trick vs. Cal, finishing up with five goals at the tourney. In goal, Victória Chamorro went the distance in all games. The freshman topped out with 10 saves in the third-place victory over Cal. She had eight saves vs. ASU and seven vs. UCLA.
DABOUB ON THE BOARD
During USC's winning effort at the Lancer Invitational, freshman Brianna Daboub was a perfect 8-for-8 on the offensive end of the pool. Her eight goals across the four games helped USC improve to 10-0 on the year, and also earned her the honor of MPSF Newcomer of the Week on Feb. 17. Daboub had scored just three goals in USC's previous six games coming into the Lancer Invitational, but stepped up and scored two goals in the opener against host Cal Baptist. She'd add another goal that day in a win over Redlands, and then upped her scoring game further the next day. Daboub delivered her first career hat trick in a win over Pomona-Pitzer and then scored twice in a win over Occidental to wrap the event with eight goals on eight attempts. It was Daboub's first career award as a Trojan, making her the second USC newcomer to win the award this season. Fellow freshman Victória Chamorro earned the honor on Feb. 10.
TITANS OF TRITON
USC's youth movement is showing its strength, with sophomore Stephania Haralabidis named MPSF Player of the Week and freshman goalie Victória Chamorro named MPSF Newcomer of the Week on Feb. 10 for their roles in helping the Trojans claim the Triton Invitational championship. Haralabidis was an offensive force for the Women of Troy, while Chamorro backed up the USC defense to great success. The respective MPSF honors are the first of each Trojans' career. Haralabidis twice won Newcomer of the Week honors last season as a freshman. Haralabidis had a huge final day at the Triton Invitational to help power the Trojans to the tournament title. She scored five goals in the semifinal win over No. 11 CSUN and then replicated that with another five goals tallied in the championship victory over No. 6 UC Irvine. Hot out of the gates in both games, Haralabidis had four goals in the books by halftime vs. CSUN and a first-period hat trick against UCI. She'd finish out the tournament with 14 total goals after providing two apiece in wins over Cal State East Bay and Long Beach State on the first day of competition. Chamorro set a career best for herself in hauling in 15 saves during USC's Triton Invitational championship victory over No. 6 UC Irvine. Chamorro went the full four quarters in that one, which USC won 10-5. She'd finish out the tournament with 27 total saves in her 13 periods of work, having played the first three frames in each of the first three games at the tourney. In all, Chamorro allowed just 11 goals during the tournament.
MONICA ON HER MARK
In USC's first games of 2015, Monica Vavic got out to a career-best start. She plugged in a career-high eight goals in the Trojans' season-opening win over CSU Bakersfield and then added six more goals in a win over Cal Baptist at the UCLA Invitational. For her powerful kickoff to her senior season, Vavic was selected the MPSF Player of the Week on Jan. 20. Along with her grand total of 14 goals, Vavic also contributed eight assists and seven steals in her five periods of work across the two wins. Vavic served up five assists in the 33-5 win over the Roadrunners and then had three more assists in the 24-3 win over Cal Baptist. Her eight goals scored in the opener matched the most goals in a single game by an MPSF player since 2007 and the most by a Trojan since Aniko Pelle in 2001.
MORE HISTORY FOR MONICA
Senior Monica Vavic has blazed a trail up the career ladder at Troy and now has her name etched at the top, having taken over as USC's all-time leading scorer with 257 career goals. The record finally fell with Vavic's third goal scored against ASU on March 13 at USC's Uytengsu Aquatics Center. That blast pushed Vavic past Olympian Aniko Pelle, who had set the previous best of 255 when she finished her USC career back in 2002. Vavic also is making her mark in the MPSF history books. She now ranks at No. 5 all-time in the conference. The top conference scorer is listed as Pacific's Molly Smith with 286 career goals. Earlier this year, Vavic tacked up another new record for herself, having scored a USC and MPSF record of nine goals in a single game with her effort on Feb. 14 vs. Pomona-Pitzer.
LOCKED AND RELOADED
USC's three returning All-Americans alone have proven they can provide serious firepower. Monica Vavic topped the charts in 2014 with 75 goals on her way to a third straight selection as an All-American. Eike Daube and Stephania Haralabidis were first-time All-American honorees last season, having served up a combined 102 goals in weighing in as USC's next most prolific scorers. All told, six of USC's top eight scorers are back for more in 2015. Seniors Daube, Vavic and Jennifer Stiefel were right in that mix last season. Stiefel punched in 31 goals; Daube was third on the team with 44 goals; and Vavic's 75 goals pumped up her career tally to 191 to rank her No. 7 all-time in career scoring -- 64 goals shy of the all-time record. Fueling the offensive fire further are now-sophomores Stephania and Ioanna Haralablidis, whose 58 and 33 respective goals as freshmen make them key elements for 2015 as well, along with junior Jayde Appel, who struck 25 goals last year. Needless to say, USC has an adept ability to score.
USC's backbone for the last four seasons has been in the cage. Olympian and four-time All-American goalie Flora Bolonyai has now graduated, leaving the defensive duties to a new international import. Brazilian national teamer Victória Chamorro takes over as USC's starting goalie, backed up by returners Alegra Hueso and Melanie Slater, who both got in good game action last season. Head coach Jovan Vavic sees Chamorro as a burgeoning talent for the Trojans.
Twenty years ago, Jovan Vavic got the ball officially rolling for women's water polo at USC. Fair to say, that ball just continues to pick up speed. Under Vavic's guidance, the Women of Troy have won four national championships since that inaugural 1995 season. And ever since winning their second title in 2004, Vavic's Trojans have reached the NCAA Tournament every single season while capturing two more crowns along the way. This year, the USC women show no signs of losing any of that postseason steam. Besides coach Vavic, there are three Women of Troy who have already had a taste of NCAA Championship glory. Junior Jayde Appel and senior All-Americans Eike Daube and Monica Vavic were all three members of USC's 2013 national championship team. Their veteran savvy provides the groundwork for this 2015 roster, which is also replete with plenty of talented youth to help drive USC back toward a 12th consecutive trip to the NCAA tourney after a third-place finish last season and a 26-4 overall mark.