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No. 1 USC Women’s Water Polo Rolls Into Triton Invite Semis With Two Wins Today

Feb 12, 2022

LA JOLLA, CALIF. — The No. 1 USC women's water polo team turned in two strong performances in today's action at the Triton Invitational to secure a spot in tomorrow's semifinals in La Jolla, Calif. The Trojans were in total control in group play competition, dispatching No. 16 UC Santa Barbara 10-4 in a morning test before returning to the pool in the afternoon with renewed energy for a 17-6 victory over No. 12 Long Beach State. The wins push USC into the semifinals, where the Trojans will face No. 6 Hawai'i tomorrow (Feb. 13) at 10:40 a.m. to fight for a spot in the 5:20 p.m. title match at UC San Diego's Canyonview Aquatic Center.

In the morning matchup with Gauchos, USC took an early 2-0 lead as Tilly Kearns and Honnie Vandeweghe-O'Shea tallied their first goals on the way to eventual hat tricks for both in the game. After UC Santa Barbara got one to go, Sophia Lucas finished off a rebound, and Grace Tehaney punched in a score to make it a 4-1 USC lead. Vandeweghe-O'Shea and Kearns kept their pace going with goals around a 5-meter penalty stop from USC goalie Carolyne Stern, and then Bayley Weber went back-to-back to help lift  USC to an 8-2 halftime advantage. Scoring slowed in the second half as Erin Tharp took over the cage for the Trojan defense. Kearns and Vandeweghe-O'Shea had their hat tricks in place before the Gauchos got a 5-meter penalty to go, and USC was up 10-3 entering the fourth. There, UCSB tallied one, and the Trojans came up empty, although the game was very much in control as USC emerged with the 10-4 win.

In the second game of the day, Kearns and Weber both kept clicking, combining for seven of USC's 17 goals as Kearns tallied three more and Weber racked up four — with all those goals coming in the first three frames. USC peeled out to an 8-3 lead in the first eight minutes of action with Weber setting the tone with back-to-back scores to open things up. Kearns dumped in two of her own around one from Mireia Guiral later in the frame to help lift USC to a hefty lead. In the second it was Grace Tehaney's turn to knock in a pair of goals while the USC offense kept clicking en route to a 14-5 halftime lead. Again, things slowed a bit in the next stretch, with Guiral, Weber and Kearns accounting for the Trojan tallies to build out a 17-6 lead that would hold through a scoreless fourth period to lock up USC's ticket to the semifinals. 

NOTABLE:
- With hat tricks in both games today, Tilly Kearns continues her run of multi-goal games, now with six such outings this season.
- With six goals today, Bayley Weber also continues her run of multi-goal games, also now with six such outings this season.
- FR Emma Lawson scored her first goal as a Trojan today with her strike vs. Long Beach State.
- FR Honnie Vandeweghe-O'Shea set a career high for herself with three goals vs. UC Santa Barbara today.
- With three goals today, Grace Tehaney has scored in all six games for USC this season.

NEXT: 
USC will face No. 6 Hawai'i tomorrow (Feb. 13) at 10:40 a.m. in the semifinals, looking for a place in the 5:20 p.m. title match at UC San Diego's Canyonview Aquatic Center.

TRITON INVITATIONAL

GROUP PLAY
#1 USC 10, #16 UC Santa Barbara 4 
Feb. 12, 2022 | Canyonview Aquatic Center (La Jolla, Calif.)
USC     4 - 4 - 2 - 0 = 10
UCSB    1 - 1 - 1 - 1 = 4

SCORING:
USC — Tilly Kearns 3, Honnie Vandeweghe-O'Shea 3, Bayley Weber 2, Sophia Lucas, Grace Tehaney.
UCSB — Sarah Owens 2, Leigh Lyter, Nina Munson.

SAVES: Carolyne Stern (USC) 1 [1st half], Erin Tharp (USC) 1 [2nd half], Casey Coppock (UCSB) n/a.

GROUP PLAY
#1 USC 17, #12 Long Beach State 6
Feb. 12, 2022 | Canyonview Aquatic Center (La Jolla, Calif.)
USC    8 - 6 - 3 - 0 = 17
LBSU    3 - 2 - 1 - 0 = 6

SCORING:
USC — Bayley Weber 4, Tilly Kearns 3, Paige Hauschild 2, Mireia Guiral 2, Grace Tehaney 2, Honnie Vandeweghe-O'Shea, Claire Haas, Julia Janov, Emma Lawson.
LBSU — Anne De Kleer 2, Orsi Hertzka 2, Rachael Kowalchick, Lena Kotanchyan.

SAVES: Carolyne Stern (USC) 4 [1st half], Erin Tharp (USC) 4 [2nd half], LBSU n/a.