LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Southern California had the ticket to the MPSF semifinals stolen away in sudden death when No. 6 seed Arizona State managed the winner on a strange play in front of the Trojan goal. The score gave the Sun Devils a 10-9 victory against the Women of Troy and put ASU into tomorrow’s MPSF tournament semifinals. USC, meanwhile, will play in a consolation semifinal for the right to play for fifth place in the tourney, held at Uytengsu Aquatics Center. The loss is USC’s third this season, putting the Trojans with a 22-3 overall record. ASU is now 15-8 overall with the upset win.
After taking an early 3-1 lead, the Trojans found themselves playing catchup once the Sun Devils countered with a four-goal run to take a 5-3 advantage during the second half. USC would pull even at 5-5, but still was faced with a come-from-behind situations the rest of the way. The Trojans equalized at 7-7 and then defied the odds with another equalizer – this one on a blast from Kaleigh Gilchrist – to make it 8-8 with just 2 seconds left in regulation. Again, ASU responded, netting a go-ahead goal in the first OT. In the second, Eike Daube rocketed one in to make it 9-9, and the score would hold to bring up sudden death. Defense stiffened on both ends in that frame, but that’s when ASU caught a lucky break. A long pass toward 2-meters prompted USC goalie Flora Bolonyai to come out and contest the close-range chance. She’d get there, and the shot attempt was just a weak effort. The ball floated toward the cage but was well short of crossing the line as Bolonyai made her mov e to gather in the loose ball. Her progress was seemingly impeded, giving ASU’s Izabella Chiappini the time to get to the ball first from the wing. With no referee whistle blowing a foul to halt the play, she’d shove the loose ball across the line for the score and the win with 1:39 on the clock in OT.
It was a bitter end to a game where the Trojans had home-pool advantage and in which Bolonyai made USC history. The first save of her eventual 12-save game pulled the Trojan senior to the top of the all-time list in saves, making Bolonyai the undisputed career saves leader for the Women of Troy.