USC’s Stephania Haralabidis & Jovan Vavic Sweep National Awards|
June 2, 2016
In a perfect topper to an already perfect season, USC has claimed both National Coach and Player of the Year awards from the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches for 2016. The undefeated Women of Troy — under the direction of newly crowned National Coach of the Year Jovan Vavic — won the 2016 NCAA Championship last month thanks in part to a brilliant long-range score from junior Stephania Haralabidis, who has become the fourth Trojan to be named National Player of the Year. Now a three-time All-American, Stephania Haralabidis is joined by five other teammates on the All-American honor roll. Junior Brigitta Games and freshman Amanda Longan also have landed spots on the All-American First Team. Junior Ioanna Haralabidis is on the All-American Second Team, and first-time All-Americans Brianna Daboub and Avery Peterson have picked up All-American Honorable Mention for their key roles in USC’s undefeated run to the 2016 national championship.
Now with seven career selections as the National Coach of the Year, USC head coach Jovan Vavic has laid claim to the most such awards on the women’s side of the game, surpassing former UCLA coach Adam Krikorian. Vavic's Women of Troy have collected five national championships during his 22-year tenure, including this latest perfect season, which was the second undefeated mark by the USC women in program history. His 2016 claim to National Coach of the Year status goes along with his collection of awards from 2013, 2010, 2004, 2003, 2002 and 1999. USC’s 26-0 record in 2016 runs Vavic’s career record with the Women of Troy to 513-142 (.783). Vavic collected his 500th career win on the women’s side this season in a victory over Stanford on Feb. 28. His Trojans would go on to beat the Cardinal three more time, including the epic 8-7 win in the 2016 national championship game. Also named the MPSF Coach of the Year this season, Vavic has now claimed both the conference and national coaching awards four times (1999, 2004, 2010 & 2016) on the women’s side of the game. As head of the USC men’s and women’s programs, Vavic has hauled in a combined 14 national championships, 13 National Coach of the Year awards and 11 MPSF Coach of the Year honors.
USC junior Stephania Haralabidis is now the fourth Trojan to be named National Player of the Year on the women’s side, following in the footsteps of previous USC honorees Kami Craig (2010), Moriah Van Norman (2004) and Bernice Orwig (1999). Haralabidis also was named the 2016 MPSF Player of the Year, and that was before the junior lefty almost single-handedly won the NCAA title match for the Trojans. She would serve up five goals in the championship bout against Stanford, including the game-winning blast from almost mid-pool. The deserved NCAA Tournament MVP finished out her junior campaign as USC’s top scorer with 63 goals served. That upped her career count to 185, making her USC’s No. 8 all-time scorer. Haralabidis scored in every game in which she appeared in 2016 to help her Trojans along to a perfect 2016 season. Haralabidis is now a three-time All-American, adding this year’s First Team upgrade to her 2015 All-America Second Team selection and 2014 Honorable Mention as a freshman. A native of Athens, Greece, Haralabidis is also a finalist for the prestigious Peter J. Cutino Award — considered the Heisman Trophy of water polo — along with fellow teammate and freshly inked First Team All-American Brigitta Games.
Brigitta Games now has her second All-American honors under her belt, having broken out to a huge junior season with the Trojans to earn deserved selection as a Cutino Award finalist and First Team All-American. USC’s second leading scorer in 2016 with 43 goals, Games was responsible for countless ejections earned to charge her team along to 26 wins on the year. Games scored in 23 of those victories, and racked up seven goals during the NCAA Tournament. She plugged in a hat trick in USC’s semifinal win over Michigan and added two big goals in the NCAA title match. She’d lock in on a spot on the NCAA All-Tournament First Team after picking up a spot on the All-MPSF Second Team during the regular season.
In her first season as a Trojan, freshman goalie Amanda Longan made a big splash for the USC cause. Longan is the fourth USC freshman ever to open her career on the All-America First Team, following Anni Espar (2013), Monica Vavic (2012) and Aniko Pelle (1999). After collecting five MPSF Newcomer of the Week awards during the regular season, Longan was named the MPSF Tournament MVP and had a spot on the All-MPSF First Team. In 18 appearances for the Trojans, Longan gathered in 145 saves to average double digits with 10.4 saves per game. The freshman would allow only 4.7 goals-against per game to help anchor an incredibly stingy USC defensive effort in 2016. Longan topped out with a whopping 17 saves in a decisive 8-3 win at Stanford during MPSF play, marking one of eight double-digit save outings by the freshman.
Weighing in as a Second Team All-American in her junior season at USC is junior Ioanna Haralabidis, who has stepped up her Honorable Mention status from her sophomore campaign. A defensive lock who also stood tall as USC’s third leading scorer in 2016 with 35 goal, Haralabidis now ranks No. 20 all-time in career scoring at Troy with 118 goals. She picked up a place on the All-MPSF First Team this year and finished out USC’s perfect season by scoring in 19 games.
Two first-time All-Americans grace this year’s All-America Honorable Mention list, with sophomore Brianna Daboub and junior Avery Peterson issuing standout seasons for the Women of Troy in 2016. Both delivered some huge performances for the Trojans during the run to the 2016 NCAA Championship, and both also earned All-MPSF Honorable Mention this season. Daboub was selected to the NCAA All-Tournament Second Team and finished out the year as USC’s fourth leading scorer with 28 goals in her sophomore campaign. Peterson, meanwhile, was third on the team in scoring with 35 goals — more than her freshman and sophomore season scoring total combined — and was responsible for a great deal ejections earned to help set up her Trojans for success. Both team captains in 2016, Peterson and Daboub both delivered hat tricks in USC’s MPSF Championship win over Stanford.
National Coach of the Year: Jovan Vavic
National Player of the Year: Stephania Haralabidis