The University of Southern California women’s water polo team won the 2018 NCAA Championship. In a defensive and thrilling championship game, the Trojans beat the Stanford Cardinal (5:4), and retook the title, won in 2016. It was their 6th NCAA title (1996, 2004, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2018).
USC, which won the MPSF title two weeks ago, was the host of 2018 NCAA Championships, held at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center. In Los Angeles.
Ten teams took part: USC (MPSF champion,No. 1 seed), Stanford (defending NCAA champion, No. 2), California (No. 3), UCLA (No. 4), UC Irvine (Big West champion), Wagner (Metro Atlantic champion), Pacific (Golden Coast champion), Pomona-Pitzer (Southern California IAC champion), Michigan (Collegiate D1 WPA champion), UC San Diego (Western WPA champion)
Opening day and Quarterfinals
On the opening day, UC Irvine demolished Pomona Pitzer (16:2), while Wagner upset UC Irvine and beat the Big West champion in the overtime period (10:7).
The top four times started the competition from the quarterfinals. All favorites recorded convincing wins against their respective rivals. USC was better than Wagner, Stanford downed UC Irvine, California beat Michigan, while UCLA defeated Pacific.
UC Irvine – Pomona Pitzer 16:2 (3:0, 6:1, 2:0, 5:1)
Wagner – UC San Diego 10:7 (2:2, 1:1, 2:2, 2:2, 2:0, 1:0) – Overtime
USC – Wagner 12:5 (2:1, 6:1, 1:1, 3:2)
UCLA – Pacific 8:4 (2:0, 2:2, 2:1, 2:1)
Stanford – UC Irvine 14:8 (5:1, 4:2, 3:1, 2:4)
California – Michigan 13:6 (3:1, 4:2, 3:1, 3:2)
The real action started on Saturday, on the semifinals day, but both matches didn‘t offer a lot of thrills.
Stanford faced California. The Cardinal, led by Jordan Raney (4 goals), Makenzie Fisher (4) and Kat Klass (3) posted an 11:7 win. Stanford water polo players started very strongly and they were 6:1 up in the 15th minute. California recovered from the shock and reduced the gap in the middle of the third period (4:7). By the last break, Stanford netted for 8:4 and maintained the 4-goal margin in the last four minutes (11:7).
Stanford 11:7 California
(4:1, 2:1, 2:2, 3:3)
Stanford: Fischer 4, Raney 4,Klass 3. Hermann 15 saves.
California:Carrega 3, Wright 2, Antal, Joustra. Tagg 10 saves.
The other semifinal game was very similar to the encounter between Stanford and California. USC built a big lead in the first two quarters of the clash with UCLA. At halftime, the Trojans had a five-goal advantage (7:2). After the 5-minute break, the hosts continued domination and UCLA water polo players found themselves 2:8 down early in the third quarter. The Trojans slowed down in the remaining minutes, but their win was never in danger. USC jumped into the final match with a 10:6 victory.
USC 10:6 UCLA
(5:2, 2:0, 1:2, 2:2)
USC: Daboub 3, Hauschild 3, Mammolito 2, Pavlovic, McIntosh.Longan 10 saves.
UCLA: Grab 2, Angermund 2, Halligan, Rozeboom. Kapanna 10 saves.
The thrilling game USC – Stanford was the lowest-scoring championship game since 2009 (when UCLA defeated USC 5:4).
The first goal was scored in the 10th minute. Jordan Raney found the net and Stanford took a 1:0 lead. By the end of the second quarter, USC equalized. Before the final quarter, the rivals were on the same starting point (3:3). The Trojans took a lead for the first time in their first possession in the fourth quarter (4:3). Stanford converted 6-on-5 for 4:4 with 5:45 remaining on the clock.
The winner came 1:57 before the end of the encounter. Denise Mammolito scored her third goal to set the final score 5:4. Stanford’s last chance was shot by Makenzie Fischer, but Amanda Longan posted her 10th win and everything was decided.
USC 5:4 Stanford
(0:0, 1:1, 2:2, 2:1)
USC: Mammolito 3, Daboub, Hauschild. Longan 10 saves
Stanford: Reney, Berggren, Fischer, Klass. Hermann 10 saves
Video Source: Pac-12 Networks/YouTube
Jovan Vavic, who works as the head coach of both the USC men’s and women’s teams, clinched his 15th national championship with the Trojans. He has six titles won by the USC women and nine by the USC men.
USC ended the season with an excellent 26-1 record. The only lost the Trojans suffered to Stanford (3:9) in February.
2018 National Collegiate Women’s Water Polo Championship (Los Angeles, May 8 – 13)
UC San Diego – Wagner 7:10
UC Irvine – Pomona-Pitzer 16:2
USC – Wagner 12:5
UCLA – Pacific 8:4
Stanford – Irvine 14:8
California – Michigan 13:6
Stanford – california 11:7
USC – UCLA 10:6
USC – Stanford 5:4
(* the same team won the MPSF title)