Defending National Champs Open 2017 NCAA Tourney As No. 3 Seed

    May 1, 2017

    The USC women’s water polo team charges up for its 14th consecutive NCAA appearance in search of the program’s first back-to-back national championships. The Women of Troy enter the 2017 tourney as the defending champs after last year’s undefeated run to the title. Now, USC goes on the hunt for a sixth national championship after picking up the No. 3 seed into this year’s tournament, which will be held May 12-14 in Indianapolis at IU Natatorium. The Trojans open the tourney against Michigan at 5:15 p.m. ET on May 12 to fight for a spot in the May 13 semis and on to the May 14 title match, which is set for 3 p.m. ET.

    This year, head coach Jovan Vavic's 2017 Trojans set a new national record in pushing their win streak out to 52 in a row with a 25-0 start to the 2017 campaign. Now, after a third-place finish at last week’s MPSF Championships, USC carries a 28-3 overall record into this 2017 NCAA Tournament. The Women of Troy stand out as one of the most well-balanced teams in the nation, averaging 14.7 goals per game and 4.4 goals-against per game. USC returns 12 members of last year’s NCAA Tournament roster, including seven All-Americans. That includes team captains Brianna Daboub and Avery Peterson, as well as last year’s Peter J. Cutino Award winner and National Player of the Year Stephania Haralabidis, and fellow senior and Cutino Award finalist Brigitta Games. All-American goalies Amanda Longan and Victória Chamorro also are back for more. On the offensive front, USC’s scoring has been paced by Stephania Haralabidis, whose 80 goals this season is the fourth most ever by a Trojan. She already stands as USC’s No. 2 all-time leading scorer. Next on the 2017 scoresheet is senior Games with 56 goals, freshman Maud Megens with 52 in her first season as a Trojan, and Ioanna Haralabidis with 52 goals.  

     

     

    The 2017 NCAA Championship bracket was released today (May 1) on ncaa.com. USC is one of four MPSF teams in this year’s field, with UCLA (22-1) picking up the top seed while No. 2 seed Stanford (20-3), No. 3 seed USC (28-3) and California (15-9) were awarded at-large berths. UCLA got the automatic bid out of the MPSF by winning the championship yesterday in Westwood. The rest of the 10-team 2017 NCAA field includes by conference champions around the nation. Those other automatic qualifiers are: Michigan (28-8, Collegiate Water Polo Association), No. 4 seeded UC Irvine (23-6, Big West Conference), UC San Diego (19-14, Western Water Polo Association), Pacific (20-8, Golden Coast Conference), Wagner (25-10, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) and Pomona-Pitzer (17-18, Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference).

    The 2017 National Collegiate Women's Water Polo Championship will be a 10-team, single-elimination tournament. Four teams will participate in two play-in games in order to secure quarterfinal slots.

    USC opens the 2017 tournament at 5:15 p.m. ET on May 12, playing Michigan in the NCAA Quarterfinals. Winners will advance to May 13 semifinals rounds, with the 2017 national championship game set for May 14 at 3 p.m. ET at IU Natatorium in Indianapolis. Complete schedule with times available in the 2017 NCAA BRACKET online. 

    USC’s five previous national championships came in 1999, 2004, 2010, 2013 and 2016. The Trojans were the top seeds each of those years, except for holding the No. 2 seed in 2010. USC’s last No. 3 seed was in the 2014 tourney, where the Trojans finished third. USC also was a No. 3 seed in 2012 and finished that tournament as runners-up to Stanford.