No. 2 USC wins UCI Invitational by knocking off top-ranked Stanford 11-10
IRVINE, Calif. -- No. 2 USC packed some championship punch in a 13-10 takedown of top-ranked Stanford to win the title at the UCI Invitational. That topped off a big day for the Women of Troy, who opened up with an 11-10 win against No. 3 UCLA in a semifinal before drumming up Sunday's championship push past the Cardinal. USC stayed perfect with a 12-0 overall record with the win, which was Stanford's first loss since beating the Trojans in the 2012 NCAA Championship game last year.
USC and Stanford stood locked at eight before the Trojans rammed home three consecutive scores on goals from Kelly Mendoza, Hannah Buckling and Monica Vavic to go up 11-8. The Cardinal trimmed the USC lead down to one, but the USC defense was anchored by a stingy USC goalie Flora Bolonyai in the cage and was paired with goals from Anni Espar and Vavic to secure the championship win for the Trojans. Espar finished with a game-high four goals, with Vavic and Hannah Buckling adding a hat trick apiece to charge up the USC offense for the win.
Espar and Colleen O'Donnell brought USC a 4-2 lead and another Espar blast answered a Stanford strike to get USC a 5-3 advantage. The Cardinal pulled even at five thanks to a 5-meter penalty shot finished by Stanford's Melissa Siedemann. That kept a spark in a four-goal Stanford surge to a 7-5 lead. Back-to-back rockets from USC newcomer Hannah Buckling equalized the score at seven into halftime.
Buckling made it three in a row out of the break to punch USC back ahead 8-7. Mendoza, Buckling and Vavic then surged ahead with their three combined goals.
The Cardinal ended the Trojan scoring surge on its first possession, then cut it down to one at 11-10 as the six minute mark came up. After a Stanford penalty shot went awry, USC pounced on its next possession as Vavic delivered a score for a 12-10 bump. Espar made good on the ensuing chance with her score taking USC ahead 13-10 with 2:28 to go.
USC goalie Flora Bolonyai made a back-breaking save in the final minute on a Maggie Steffens shot to give USC a huge defensive lift. Bolonyai denied Steffens again, and USC was in the books with a big 13-10 win against the Cardinal to bring home the tournament championship.