No. 1 USC Women’s Water Polo Wins Defensive Battle 5-3 At No. 3 UCLA
WESTWOOD, CALIF. — The No. 1 USC women's water polo team held host No. 3 UCLA to just three goals — tying the fewest ever scored by the Bruins against the Trojans in program history — in a defensive battle in Westwood, which saw USC make moves in the fourth to earn a 5-3 victory over its host today at Spieker Aquatics Center. The hard-fought win keeps the Trojans undefeated on the year with a 17-0 overall record and now 11-0 mark in MPSF play.
It took almost eight minutes before the Trojans were able to create a crack in UCLA's defense, with Grace Tehaney getting a deflection on her shot to tally the first goal of the game as USC led 1-0 late in the first. As shots continued to go awry on both ends, it would take a 6-on-5 opportunity for the Bruins to break through, snarling it at 1-1 with 2:48 on the clock in the second period. After USC goalie Holly Parker snuffed UCLA's next power play look, Maud Megens would find Bayley Weber for a power move and finish that pulled USC back ahead, and that 2-1 advantage would stand not only through to halftime, but through to the fourth frame as neither team could find the back of the net in the third.
USC would get the upper hand early in the fourth, however, when Kelsey McIntosh crossed to Weber for a skipper that got USC ahead 3-1 just 16 seconds into the fourth. Parker would mack back-to-back saves to turn away the Bruins, but a counterattack finish from UCLA got it back to a one-goal game with 3:08 remaining, having broken almost a full 16 minutes of scoring silence for UCLA. The Trojans responded promptly with Megens firing off a bar-down shot to make it 4-2 less than 20 seconds later. A savvy offspeed strike to the top corner from McIntosh came next, taking the Trojans ahead 5-2 with 1:33 to go. That prompted UCLA to pull its goalie and put a field player in the goalie cap to allow for a 7-on-6 attack for the Bruins. Parker would save the first chance, and Denise Mammolito threw up a field block on the next, but UCLA would get one to go with 41 seconds left to make it 5-3. The Trojans stayed the course the rest of the way, though, holding on to their lead to wrap another MPSF win.
The Trojans and Bruins have another bout scheduled tomorrow in their regular-season finale. USC visits UCLA at 11 a.m. tomorrow (April 25) at Spieker Aquatics Center looking to keep its undefeated record alive for some extra postseason momentum.
#1 USC 5, #3 UCLA 3
April 24, 2021 | Spieker Aquatics Center (Westwood, Calif.)
USC 1 - 1 - 0 - 3 = 5
UCLA 0 - 1 - 0 - 2 = 3
USC — Bayley Weber 2, Grace Tehaney, Maud Megens, Kelsey McIntosh.
UCLA — Lexi Liebowitz 3.
SAVES: Holly Parker (USC) 8, Jahmea Bent (UCLA) 10.