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Second in Conference

May 2, 2021

TEMPE, Ariz. - No. 2 Stanford was denied the conference crown on Sunday afternoon, dropping a 9-6 decision to top-ranked USC at the MPSF Tournament. The loss pushes Stanford to 12-5 overall on the year.

Stanford (12-4), the only school to appear in all 19 NCAA championships since their inception in 2001, will learn its seed during tomorrow's selection show on NCAA.com at 5 p.m. PT. The 2021 National Collegiate Women's Water Polo Championship will be hosted by UCLA from May 14-16 in Los Angeles.
 
A runner-up MPSF Tournament finish isn't an indicator of NCAA success, at least for the Cardinal. Despite winning six of the past nine national championships, 2014 was the only season in the past 14 in which Stanford won a conference title.

No. 2 Stanford 6 - No. 1 USC 9

Both teams were slow to start on offense, as defense reigned supreme, but Stanford scored first, on its third shot of the day, from Jewel Roemer. The teams exchanged blows, locked at 2-2, before the Trojans seesawed ahead 3-2 at the break.

The Cardinal turned the ball over seven times in the first two periods, and had trouble solving the USC defense, but was still in the thick of things nonetheless. 

Two turnovers to start the third period again hurt Stanford, and USC took advantage for its third straight goal and a 4-2 lead. Hannah Constandse broke the drought for the Cardinal, cutting the lead to 4-3, and the Stanford defense held the Trojans without a goal for over four minutes, but couldn't capitalize itself. 

USC scored for a 5-3 lead, but the game was still in balance heading into the fourth period after a penalty shot goal from Sarah Klass to end the third. 

The Trojans answered with a penalty shot goal of their own for a 6-4 lead, but Stanford would not back down, making it 6-5 on a goal from Chloe Harbilas. Just 12 seconds later USC extended to 7-5, and the breaking point happened right after, pushing the lead to an insurmountable three goals at 8-5. 

The Cardinal applied pressure to draw within 8-6, but couldn't find the goals it needed to complete the comeback, falling 9-6.

No. 2 Stanford vs. No. 1 USC
May 2, 2021 • Tempe, Ariz.
USC 1 – 2 – 2 – 4 = 9
STAN 2 – 0 – 2 – 2 = 6
 
USC Goals: Maud Megens (3), Kelsey McIntosh (2), Bayley Weber (2), Mireia Guiral (1), Grace Tehaney (1)

Stanford Goals: Hannah Constandse (2), Chloe Harbilas (2), Sarah Klass (1), Jewel Roemer (1)

Saves: Emalia Eichelberger (12), Holly Parker (10)