No. 1 USC Women's Water Polo Kicks Off 2021 With 12-7 Win Over No. 4 UC Irvine
LOS ANGELES — Almost a year to the day since its last competition at Uytengsu Aquatics Center, the No. 1 USC women's water polo team got right back to business in drumming up a 12-7 win over visiting UC Irvine. The Anteaters were actually USC's last opponent at Uytengsu — a 9-6 Trojan win on Feb. 15, 2020. In tonight's clash, USC was powered up by a five-goal outing from Maud Megens and backed up by nine saves from Holly Parker to help the top-ranked Trojans to a 1-0 start to 2021.
After Grace Tehaney lit the fuse on USC's offensive efforts with a goal in the first minute, Maud Megens had a hat trick by the close the first quarter as USC netted a 4-1 lead after eight minutes of action. Goalie Holly Parker would snuff an early Anteater 6-on-5 chance with a save, and then Kelsey McIntosh found Téa Poljak for a score that got USC up 5-1 early in the second. UC Irvine converted on a power play later, only to see Megens hit Denise Mammolito for a 6-on-5 slam 10 seconds before the halftime buzzer, and USC was up 6-2 at the break.
In the third, the Anteaters managed back-to-back goals to make it 6-4, only to see Megens bust out a laser on a 6-on-5 and then strike on the counter to build back that four-goal lead. Entering the fourth, USC was up 9-6, and the Trojans stayed in full control with three more goals in the final frame. Verica Bakoc struck first, and after Parker squashed an Anteater 5-meter penalty shot it was freshman Julia Janov who notched her first goal as a Trojan to take USC ahead 11-6. UC Irvine got a 6-on-5 to go next, but Grace Tehaney would wrap up her hat trick to get USC ahead 12-7, and the Trojans held tight to that lead the rest of the way.
USC's next action takes the Trojans to Tempe, Ariz., for competition at a tournament hosted by Arizona State from Feb. 26-28.
#1 USC 12, #4 UC Irvine 7
Feb. 13, 2021 | Uytengsu Aquatics Center (Los Angeles, Calif.)
USC 4 - 2 - 3 - 3 = 12
UCI 1 - 1 - 4 - 1 = 7
USC — Maud Megens 5, Grace Tehaney 3, Téa Poljak, Denise Mammolito, Verica Bakoc, Julia Janov.
UCI — Danielle Ayala 2, Jessica Lynch 2, Piper Smith, Megan Falcon, Maeve Murphy.
SAVES: Holly Parker (USC) 9, Morgan Jones (UCI) 8.