May 14, 2010

By Kyle Kensing
Special to NCAA.com

SAN DIEGO - An early deluge gave No. 2 Southern California plenty of breathing room en route to a 20-5 defeat of No. 7 Marist in the first match of Friday's NCAA Div. I national water polo championship.

The Women of Troy scored four goals in the first four minutes and carried a 12-1 lead into halftime. The win advances USC to Saturday's semifinals at San Diego State University's Aztec Aquaplex, facing the winner of UCLA and Loyola Marymount.

"Execute," USC head coach Jovan Vavic said in summary of the team's outlook heading into the quarterfinal victory. "And we did that. We wanted to make sure we didn't make silly mistakes."

Vavic praised the Marist defense, but USC used its own defense to limit Marist opportunities and spend much of the match on the attack.

USC ran its game plan with calculating efficiency, spreading its 12 first half goals evenly over the first two periods and closing the game with a season-high 20 goals.

The onslaught cut off any opportunity the furthest traveling team in the field had of rallying. Marist is playing nearly 3000 miles from its Poughkeepsie, N.Y. campus.

"We knew we were facing an incredibly tough opponent," said Marist head coach Ashleigh Jacobs. "This is the fastest team we played all season. Communication was lacking and we left some big openings."

By the time Jacobs called for her first time-out, the Red Foxes trailed 5-0. Marist never mounted a counterattack to the Women of Troy's efficient offensive charge.

"I think there was some [being] star struck," Jacobs said. This was a sentiment Marist senior Samantha Swartz echoed.

"[Playing in the NCAA championship] is a great honor. At the banquet, you're walking around with Olympians."

Swartz scored the first Red Fox goal and finished the match with a team-leading two. Patricia Jansco, Joelle Bekhazi and Alexandra Kiss led the Women of Troy with four, three and three goals respectively.