Southern California advances to semifinals after routing Pomona-Pitzer
BOSTON -- Top-seeded Southern California carries a scoring streak of 27 unanswered goals into Saturday's national semifinals after the Trojans trounced No. 8-seed Pomona-Pitzer 27-1 in Friday's NCAA championship first round at Harvard's Blodgett Pool. The Sagehens managed a nice goal out of the gates, but the score shook the Women of Troy back to full attention to the task at hand.
Now holding a 25-1 overall record, USC is looking for a fourth national championship and to get into title contention the Trojans will need to get through No. 4-seed Hawaii in the next round.
USC definitely spread the wealth in the first round while remaining stingy on defense. USC rattled the post on its first possession and Pomona-Pitzer got on the board first when Katy Schaefer plugged a perfect shot into the top corner, just out of reach of USC goalie Flora Bolonyai. Bolonyai and her Trojan defense adjusted quickly, preventing the Sagehorns from scoring the rest of the way. Steals, saves, takeaways and field blocks were the name of the game for the USC defense, while the offense soon caught fire in feeding off of those defensive stops.
Twelve different Trojans hit the back of the net in the game, led by four-goal outings from senior Dominique Sardo and sophomore Monica Vavic. For Vavic, the four-goal day bumped her single-season scoring total to 75, matching the third most goals scored in a season by a Trojan. She also moved up to No. 17 all-time in career scoring, now with 115 career goals.
Vavic's first goal of the day brought the Trojans even with the Sagehens, making it 1-1 at 5:20 in the first. From there, senior Nicolina McCall took things into her own hands, blasting three consecutive goals to lift USC to the lead on what eventually grew to be a 27-goal scoring run to the finish line.
McCall and Jayde Appel each finished with three goals apiece in the game, while five other Trojans also made it multiple-goal days with two scores apiece from Anni Espar, Hannah Buckling, Olivia Cummins, Kelly Mendoza and Constance Hiller. Also getting in on the scoring action in the busy offensive effort were Chelsea Silvers, Eike Daube and Kaleigh Gilchrist.
USC's defensive game was solidly backed up by Bolonyai, who hauled in 10 saves, while her Trojan field players were nabbing steals and helping to shut down the Sagehens.