Late Charge Falls Short
STANFORD, Calif. - No. 3 USC built an early lead and held off a late charge, defeating No. 1 Stanford 10-8 on Saturday afternoon at Avery Aquatic Center.
Stanford (14-2, 2-1 MPSF), which had occupied the nation's top ranking for five straight weeks, had its 10-game winning streak snapped while competing in its first home match in nearly a month.
The Cardinal was seeking its second win of the season against USC (14-2, 3-0 MPSF), having already defeated the Trojans 16-10 back on Feb. 26 in the semifinals of the Barbara Kalbus Invitational.
It was the Trojans with the upper hand this time around, limiting Stanford to a season-low eight goals despite the Cardinal owning a 27-25 shot advantage.
USC, which converted 6-of-8 on the power play, raced out to a 6-3 halftime lead and did just enough to remain in control the rest of the way.
Makenzie Fischer finished with a game-high 10 shots, scoring three goals while dishing out two assists. Ryann Neushul added three goals on six shots while also claiming an assist.
Fischer's first goal of the afternoon put Stanford in front 2-1 with 34 seconds remining in the first period. However, Paige Hauschild evened the game 14 seconds later and Mireia Guiral supplied the go-ahead goal for USC at the 4:59 mark of the second period.
The Trojans maintained a slim lead the rest of the way, with the Cardinal eventually creeping to within 9-8 thanks to a goal from Neushul with 57 seconds left.
Alejandra Aznar's insurance goal with 25 seconds remaining secure the win for USC.
Maya Avital finished with 10 saves while also denying USC's only penalty shot attempt.
Stanford has a quick turnaround, hosting Loyola Marymount on Sunday at noon. The Cardinal will play four of its last five at home before the MPSF Championship begins April 22.
Stanford Goals: Makenzie Fischer (3), Ryann Neushul (3), Aria Fischer (1), Katie Lyons (1)