The No. 1 USC women water polo team clinched the MPSF title, for the 5th time in its history.
The 2018 MPSF Championship tournament was held in Berkeley (April 27 – 29). The Trojans beat No.2 Stanford in the final game – 13:12 in overtime.
On Day 1, No. 3 seed Stanford met No.6 seed San Jose State, while No.4 seed UCLA faced No.5 seed Arizona State. USC (No.1 seed) and host California (No. 2 seed) had a bye.
Favorites trashed their respective rivals. Stanford defeated San Jose State by a 12-goal margin (16:4), while UCLA beat Arizona 14:4
Stanford 16:4 San Jose State
(3:2, 5:0, 3:1, 5:1)
UCLA 14:4 Arizona State
(6:2, 2:1, 2:1, 4:0)
As expected, semifinals saw more interesting games.
The first semifinal was an encounter between USC and UCLA, which won the MPSF title last season. The Trojans broke the rival in the middle of the game. After balanced first quarter (2:2), USC took control and rushed to a 7:3 lead in the opening minutes of the third. The Bruins reduced the gap and they trailed 6:9 before the last quarter. Both sides scored four goals each in the last eight minutes and USC won 13:10. Paige Hauschild (5 goals) and MPSF Player of the Year Amanda Longan (13 saves) led USC to the victory.
Stanford played against California, which beat the Cardinal in the opening match of the MPSF play. Stanford took revenge. It seemed, that California would achieve another win over the big rival. The home team led 4:2 early in the second quarter. But, Stanford, boosted by its top scorer Makenzie Fisher earned a 6:5 advantage by halftime. In the third quarter, the Cardinal built a 10:7 lead. Stanford went 11:7 up in the 25th minute and there was no way back for California (12:9).
USC 13:10 UCLA
(2:2, 3:1, 4:3, 4:4)
USC: Hauschild 5, Bakoc 2, McIntosh 2, Daboub, Megens, McKelvey, Brownsberger.
UCLA: Halligan 4, Musselman 3, Reego, Skelly, Liebowitz.
Stanford 12:9 California
(2:2, 4:3, 4:2, 2:2)
California: E. Wright 3, Antal 2, Illes 2, Carrega, Mulder
Stanford: Ma. Fischer 5, Klass 2, Berggren, Dudley, A. Fischer, Raney, C. Wiley
For 3rd place
The match for the third place California – UCLA didn’t offer a lot of thrills as the Bears controlled everything from the first until the last buzzer. The home side posted an 8:3 win.
California 8:3 UCLA
(2:1, 3:1, 1:1, 1:0)
California: Carrega 2, Wright 2, Antal, Joustra, Mulder, Siepker.
UCLA: Halligan 2, Musselman.
USC and Stanford fought a big battle in the Championship game. Stanford water polo players led for most of the time in the first 10 minutes, but their advantage was never larger than two goals. In the 10th minute, the Cardinal was in front (5:4). USC responded with three goals in a row to take a 7:5 lead.
At halftime, the score was 7:7. There were a lot of twists and turns in the second half. The match ended in an 11:11 draw, so everything was decided in overtime. USC netted two crucial goals in a span of 40 seconds to went 13:11 up in the last minute of the 1st overtime. In the second overtime, only Stanford’s Makenzie Fisher found the net and USC won 13:12. This was the Trojan’s fifth MPSF title (2004, 2009, 2013, 2016, 2018).
USC 13:12 Stanford
(3:2, 4:4, 2:2, 2:2, 2:0, 0:1)
USC: McKelvey 4, Megens 4, McIntosh 2, Daboub, Hauschild, Mammolito. Saves: Longan 12
Stanford: M. Fischer 5, Berggren 2, Dudley 2, A. Fischer 2, Cleary. Saves: Hermann 10.
Video source: Stanford Athletics/YouTube
USC Trojans claimed two most important individual awards this season. Jovan Vavic was named 2018 MPSF Coach of the Year for the 6th time, while the goalkeeper Amanda Longan is MPSF Player of the Year.
Next week, USC will be the host of the NCAA Championships. The tournament will take place at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center in Los Angeles (May 8-13)
Scores and standings
MPSF tournament (Berkeley, April 27 – 29)
Stanford (seed No.3)-San Jose State (seed No. 6) 16:4
UCLA (seed No.2) – Arizona State (seed No.5)14:4
USC (seed No.1) and California (seed No.2) – Bye
For 5th place
Arizona State – San Jose State 13:3
USC – UCLA 13:10
Stanford – California 12:9
For 3rd place
California – UCLA 8:3
USC – Stanford 13:12 (overtime)
Big West (Irvine, April 27 – 29)
Long Beach State (seed No.5) – UC Santa Barbara (seed No. 4) 9:6
UC Irvine (seed No.3) – CSUN (seed No.6) 14:1
Hawai’i (seed No.1) and UC Davis (seed No.2) – bye
For 5th place
UC Santa Barbara – CSUN 10:9 (sudden-death)
Hawai’i – Long Beach State 9:6
UC Irvine – UC Davis 10:7
For 3rd place
Long Beach State – UC Davis 11:8
UC Irvine – Hawai’i 8:7 (sudden-death- 3r OT)
NCAA Collegiate Water Polo Association rankings (April 25)
1. (1) USC (MPSF) 100
2. (2) Stanford (MPSF) 96
3. (3) California (MPSF) 92
4. (4) UCLA (MPSF) 88
5. (5) Hawai’i (Big West) 84
6. (6) Arizona State (MPSF) 80
7. (7) Pacific (Golden Coast) 76
8. (9) UC Davis (Big West) 69
9. (8) UC Irvine (Big West) 68
10. (10) Princeton (Collegiate D1) 61