April 18, 2010

Courtesy of USC

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - Celebrating their final game at McDonald's Swim Stadium, the No. 1 USC women's water polo team's senior class combined forces for a powerful win over crosstown rival No. 4 UCLA. A nine-goal scoring surge rolled the Trojans well out of reach of the visiting Bruins, as USC captured a 14-5 win over UCLA on Saturday afternoon. Seniors Kami Craig, Alexandra Kiss and Kally Lucas combined for eight goals on the day, while Forel Davies was perfect on opening sprints and goalie Tumua Anae turned away 14 Bruin shots in the win. The victory is USC's 17th straight win of the year and pushes the Trojans to 19-1 overall and 5-0 in MPSF play. UCLA goes to 17-7, 4-3.

The Trojans and the Bruins stayed close in the first frame before USC busted loose with nine straight goals thanks to a cool 7-0 shutout in the second period of play. Kristen Dronberger scored the first and last goals of the first period, while UCLA managed back-to-back strikes in the frame to take its only lead of the game, up 2-1 on a 6-no-5 score from Kelly Easterday. Dronberger would equalize before the close of the period, and the Trojans regrouped and made their winning surge in the second period.

While Tumua Anae and the Trojan defense were rendering the Bruins scoreless, the USC offense clicked to the tune of seven goals. Patricia Jancso went big for a pair in the run, while Kally Lucas hit back-to-back 6-on-5 scores. Kami Craig, Alexandra Kiss and Joelle Bekhazi would all get in on the scoring frenzy for the Trojans, as USC took a 9-2 lead by halftime.

In the third, after yet another smooth win on the opening sprint from Forel Davies, Craig opened things with a blast out of set. USC misfired on a 6-on-5 chance later, but made good on the next one as Dronberger hit Nadia Dan for the score that lifted USC up 11-2. UCLA snapped USC's scoring streak at nine with a 6-on-5 score of its own from Priscilla Orozco, and Grace Reynolds send in a skipshot that dribble through to make it 11-4 USC entering the fourth period. USC had a powerful answer once again, thanks to some slick work from Kiss. She knocked in a 6-on-5 score first, then set up Craig for another power play strike from two-meters as USC went ahead 13-4. Kiss would make it 14-4 under a minute later with a shot to the top corner of the cage.

Tumua Anae slammed down her 14th save of the game soon after that to net the senior goalie's 10th double-digit save effort in the past 11 games. UCLA's final goal came on an uncommon opportunity in which Bruin goalie Caitlin Dement caught Anae coming out of the cage in order to cut off the UCLA counterattack. Rather than feed into the offense, Dement sailed the ball into the opposite cage for the score to close down the game as a commanding 14-5 USC victory. The win also registered USC's second straight undefeated home record and puts its home win streak at 18 straight.

USC's final weekend of the regular season takes the Women of Troy northward to face San Jose State and Stanford in MPSF action. The Trojans visit San Jose State for a 4 p.m. game on Friday (April 23) before taking on the only team to hand them a loss this year, facing Stanford at 4 p.m. on Saturday (April 24).

#1 USC 14, #4 UCLA 5
USC 2 - 7 - 2 - 3 = 14
UCLA 2 - 0 - 2 - 1 = 5

USC - Kami Craig 3, Alexandra Kiss 3, Kristen Dronberger 2, Patricia Jancso 2, Kally Lucas 2, Joelle Bekhazi, Nadia Dan.
UCLA - Emily Greenwood, Kelly Easterday, Priscilla Orozco, Grace Reynolds, Caitlin Dement.
SAVES: Tumua Anae (USC) 14, Caitlin Dement (UCLA) 8.