Buckling

BERKELEY, Calif. -- No. 2 USC shell-shocked No. 1 Stanford on Sunday in the 2013 MPSF Championship match. The Women of Troy rattled the Cardinal cage with five unanswered goals in the first period and finished off a 11-7 win to claim their third MPSF title. The championship victory locks the Trojans (24-1) in with the automatic bid for the upcoming NCAA championships.

USC and Stanford traded wins earlier in the season, with the Trojans posting a 13-10 win in February and the Cardinal claiming a 6-4 win during the MPSF regular-season.

The Women of Troy  took a quick lead on a sliding blast from Monica Vavic and a skipper from Hannah Buckling. Those two went on to score two goals apiece in the first frame around a stinging skip shot from Kelly Mendoza to bump USC up 5-0. Buckling ended the day by scoring USC's final goal, going low corner on the Cardinal defense.

Vavic had a hat trick by halftime and Anni Espar added two goals to help drive the powerful Trojan offense out of reach for Stanford. On the defensive end, USC's Flora Bolonyai hauled in nine saves, including a block against a Stanford five-meter penalty shot that would have recorded the Cardinal's first goal of the game and made it close early.

Instead, the Trojan defense pitched a shutout against Stanford in the first period of play while nailing those five goals to the back of the cage. Stanford's first goal did not come until early in the second period when the Cardinal was awarded another penalty shot and it was converted by Melissa Seidemann. The Trojans scored back-to-back goals to get ahead 7-2 with Vavic's third goal of the game. Seidemann's third made it a 7-3 USC advantage at the break.

To open the second, USC blasted three goals in a row to bury Stanford back by seven. Madeline Rosenthal gathered in a 6-on-5 rebound and drove it home to make it 8-3 Trojans. Espar delivered an unstoppable shot on USC's next power-play opportunity, and after another USC takeaway at set, the Women of Troy finished off another 6-on-5 advantage net. Another Buckling blast off a feed from Chelsea Silvers and USC had a 10-3 lead on Stanford with 4:46 to go in the third.

The Cardinal manufactured a three-goal surge to draw within 10-6 entering the final frame, but USC's defense -- paired with one more booming blast from Buckling -- wrapped things up for the Trojans. Bolonyai slammed down two 5-on-6 saves, and although Stanford managed one last goal with 4:35 remaining, Kelly Mendoza put a stop to a Stanford counter and Bolonyai hauled in one more save to put the finishing touches on a dominating MPSF Championship win for the Trojans.

USC last won the MPSF Championship in 2009 and also won the tournament title in 2004.

Related:

Conference Championship Central