Feb. 8, 2009

Courtesy USC


PALO ALTO, CALIF. - The top-ranked USC women's water polo team snagged two big wins on the first day of the Stanford Invitational today, following up a 19-9 win over No. 7 Arizona State with an overtime push against host Stanford, as the Trojans topped the Cardinal 12-10 to all but seal a place in tomorrow's championship game. With today's wins, USC improves to 3-0 on the season.

In knocking off the other high seed in their bracket, the Trojans have some solid momentum going into tomorrow's final bracket game against No. 18 Indiana in the morning. A win in that 8 a.m. game would secure USC's finish as the leader out of its bracket, lining up the Trojans to face the winner of the opposing bracket in the tournament championship game at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday (Feb. 8) at Stanford's Avery Aquatic Center.

In today's marquee matchup between No. 1 USC and No. 2 Stanford, the teams stayed virtually in stride with each other throughout the game. Two goals apiece in the fourth period left the teams locked at 9-9 for the close of regulation to bring up overtime. In the first overtime period, USC got ahead with goals from Michelle Stein and Kristen Dronberger to overcome a single score from the Cardinal. Up 11-10 for the second overtime frame, USC secured victory with another strike from Joelle Bekhazi while its defense silenced Stanford to finish off the hosts with a 12-10 overtime win. Senior Stein led all scorers in the match with four goals, while Dronberger and Bekhazi tallied two each for the Trojans to lead USC's offensive strike.

A third-quarter surge helped USC pound out a 19-9 win over Arizona State in the first game of the day for the Trojans. After a 3-3 lockup in the first period, USC moved out to a 7-5 lead for halftime. In the second half, however, the Women of Troy picked up the pace. Nine USC goals were fired in during the third period alone, and the Trojans tacked up three more in the fourth while the Sun Devils managed one last strike in the final frame to land USC the 19-9 win.

Seven Trojans each plugged in at least two goals apiece in the game, led by Alexandra Kiss' hat trick.

2009 Stanford Invitational
Feb. 7-8 - Palo Alto, Calif.

#1 USC 19, #7 Arizona State 9
ASU 3 - 2 - 3 - 1 = 9
USC 3 - 4 - 9 - 3 = 19

USC - Alexandra Kiss 3, Michelle Stein 2, Kally Lucas 2, Rosanna Tomiuk 2, Forel Davies 2, Sarah Van Norman 2, Joelle Bekhazi 2, Nadia Dan, Kara-Leigh Huse, Kami Craig, Kristen Dronberger.
ASU - Morrison 2, Phelps 2, Campo, McGrath, Unbehaun, Schubert

SAVES: Morris (ASU) 3, Ilse van der Meijden (USC) 7, Courtney Ray (USC) 3.

#1 USC 12, #2 Stanford 10 (OT)
USC 2 - 2 - 3 - 2 --- 2 - 1 = 12
STAN 3 - 2 - 2 - 2 --- 1 - 0 = 10

USC - Michelle Stein 4, Kristen Dronberger 2, Joelle Bekhazi 2, Kami Craig, Kally Lucas, Rosanna Tomiuk, Nadia Dan.
STAN - Seidemann 2, Menon 2, Eaton 2, Hillman, Blyleven, West, Koran.

SAVES: Oland (STAN) 4, Ilse van der Meijden (USC) 2.