No. 1 USC Women’s Water Polo Swamps Sun Devils 10-4 In Semis To Reach Another NCAA Final
WESTWOOD, CALIF. — The No. 1 USC women's water polo team exploded with an eight-goal rally that put Arizona State out of reach in today's NCAA Semifinal bout in Westwood, as the Trojans secured a spot in the national championship game with a 10-4 win over the Sun Devils. Now 21-1 overall, USC has its eyes locked on claiming a seventh national title. The Trojans will face host UCLA in a 3 p.m. final tomorrow (May 16) at Spieker Aquatics Center.
It was a tight affair for the first 15 minutes of action as the lead changed hands four times. ASU had the opening advantage, only to see USC rattle off back-to-back goals to nudge ahead 2-1 in the first. A Sun Devil 5-meter penalty shot and a 6-on-5 finish had ASU on top again with a 3-2 lead with 4:30 on the clock in the second, but a big power move from Bayley Weber a minute later turned the tide on things. Weber's equalizer at 3:30 lit the fuse on what would balloon to eight straight goals by the Trojans to leave ASU in their wake. Verica Bakoc's second of the day would tug the Trojans ahead 4-3, and Grace Tehaney would cap off the half with a crosscage finish to net a 5-3 lead for USC at halftime.
USC's silencers stayed on in the third, as the Trojan defense continued to interrupt the Sun Devils while the USC offense clicked off four more sores. Maud Megens knocked in two of those, while Bakoc hit her hat trick and Tehaney ripped in her second as USC climbed ahead 9-3 entering the fourth. USC's eighth straight goal came when Megens sizzled in a 5-meter penalty shot earned by Weber, and USC was up 10-3 and well on course to its place in the NCAA title match. ASU would break almost 17 minutes of scoring silence midway through the fourth, and that would do it for the day's action as USC claimed the 10-4 victory.
Under the direction of head coach Marko Pintaric, USC is looking for its seventh national championship, having won its last title in 2018. This will be the fourth championship meeting between USC and UCLA, with the Bruins having won the previous three in 2006, 2008 and 2009. In NCAA tourney action overall, USC and UCLA last met in the 2018 semifinals, where the Trojans beat the Bruins 10-6 en route to winning the 2018 title. This will be USC's 11th NCAA championship game appearance. In their previous 10 trips to an NCAA title match, the Trojans have won five crowns (USC's first national championship was in 1999 before the NCAA sponsored the sport).
2021 NATIONAL COLLEGIATE WOMEN'S WATER POLO CHAMPIONSHIP
#1 USC 10, #4 Arizona State 4
May 15, 2021 | Spieker Aquatics Center (Westwood, Calif.)
USC 2 - 3 - 4 - 1 = 10
ASU 1 - 2 - 0 - 1 = 4
USC — Verica Bakoc 3, Maud Megens 3, Grace Tehaney 2, Denise Mammolito, Bayley Weber.
ASU — Amira Van Buren, Bente Rogge, Alba Olive Marti, Luca Petovary.
SAVES: Holly Parker (USC) 4, Chelsea Karimazondo (ASU) 7,