MPSF Water Polo Results, Apr. 13

Amanda Longan, USC (Photo by Jorge Daboub)
Amanda Longan, USC (Photo by Jorge Daboub)
April 13, 2018

No. 2 USC 8, No. 1 Stanford 5

Recap by USC

PALO ALTO, CALIF. — The No. 2 USC women’s water polo team stunned top-ranked Stanford with a solid 8-5 win in the Cardinal’s home pool today in Palo Alto. The Trojans stormed to an early lead and would stave off Stanford, who cut it to a one-goal game in the third before USC delivered three straight goals to surge back into control. Senior Hayley McKelvey and freshman Paige Hauschild would lead the scoring charge with three goals apiece for the Trojan cause, while junior goalie Amanda Longan locked up a whopping 16 saves to preserve the key MPSF win. USC improves to 19-1 overall and to 3-0 in MPSF play. Stanford goes to 14-2, 1-2 as USC avenges its only loss of the year, taken to the Cardinal back in February.

Stanford had plenty of opportunities to chip away at USC early 3-0 lead — built on goals from Paige Hauschild, Hayley McKelvey and Denise Mammolito. The Cardinal got up on 10 power play advantages in the game, but the Trojans turned away eight of those, while Stanford also missed 5-meter penalty opportunity in the fourth quarter. USC was already up 8-4 by the time Stanford had that penalty chance, which had followed back-to-back Stanford 6-on-5s that USC was able to squash. Even a silent second period by the Trojans did not deter the visitors. McKelvey’s second goal of the day had USC up 4-1 at the end of the first period. Stanford would be the only team to score in the second, making it 4-2 at halftime.

In the third, the teams went goal-for-goal. Stanford would cut the game to a one-goal margin on two occasions, but McKelvey rifled in her third to get USC up 5-3. After Stanford closed to 5-4 just 30 seconds later, that tight score would hold up while Longan’s save count grew. Up on a power play in the final stretch of the third, USC had Kelsey McIntosh find senior Brianna Daboub for a ferocious goal that tugged the Trojans ahead 6-4 on the way into the fourth. Daboub’s goal was the insurance the Trojans needed, and Hauschild capitalized on the momentum swing by firing in a crosscage bullet early in the fourth to make it 7-4 Trojans. A booming field block from Annika Jensen sent USC back on the attack too after, prompting Hauschild to deliver an incredible bar-in rocket that rattled the cage and carried the Trojans ahead 8-4. As the USC defense turned away several Stanford opportunities down the line, the Cardinal misfired on its 5-meter penalty try. USC would work to run out the clock, giving up just a single late goal to its host as the game wrapped up as an 8-5 Trojan road victory.

USC now looks to make it an MPSF road sweep with a matchup against San José State on tap tomorrow (April 14) at West Valley College in Saratoga, Calif.

No. 6 Arizona State 10, No. 21 San Jose State 6

Recap by ASU

SARATOGA, Calif. – The No. 6 Sun Devil Water Polo team picked up their first MPSF win of the season, defeating No. 21 San Jose State, 10-6, Friday evening at the West Valley Aquatics Center located on the campus of West Valley College.

Arizona State (15-7) earns their 13th victory over a CWPA Top 25 team during the 2018 campaign. The Sun Devils have now won five consecutive matches over the Spartans dating back to 2014. ASU has defeated a pair of Top 25 teams on the road this season. The attention will turn quickly to the looming showdown with No. 1 Stanford, coming up on Sunday at 2:00 P.M. broadcasted live on Pac 12 Network.

Maud Koopman and Alkistis Benekou teamed up to lead a potent offensive attack for the Sun Devils. The duo finished with seven of Arizona State's ten goals, with Koopman recording her second four-goal performance and Benekou registering her fifth hat trick of the season. Koopman's all-around game was on full display throughout the match, as the versatile attacker contributed a team high two assists and four steals. Kayla Casas added two goals of her own and Mia Rycraw made stops when she needed to, finishing the night with nine saves.

Showing maturity and composure, Arizona State would respond to an early first period goal by the Spartans with a tally of their own. Maud Koopman would even the match up at the 7:08 mark in the first period, with each side trying to establish a defensive identity. After Koopman broke the seal, the goals would start to pour in with the Sun Devil offense finding its footing. Alkistis Benekou put the Sun Devils ahead with a goal, followed by Maud Koopman's second goal of the first period. Now leading 3-1, Kayla Casas beat the Spartan's goaltender to extend the ASU lead to 4-1 with 2:43 left in the period. Mia Rycraw finished the opening eight minutes with three saves, keeping the lead at 4-1 through one.

Maud Koopman continued to be the story in the early going offensively, as the junior was in the zone. Her third goal of the match came just 17 seconds into the second period, giving her a team high seven 3+ goal performances this season. Lena Mihailovic became the Sun Devils fourth different goal scorer with 4:50 still remaining in the first half, as she extended the Sun Devil lead to 6-1. With ASU in need of a response to a late Spartan push before the half, Alkistis Benekou provided one, scoring her second goal of the match. The Sun Devils would take a 7-2 lead into the break, with Mia Rycraw recorded five saves.

A quiet third period saw the Spartans score first, but the Sun Devils would regain momentum playing fantastic team defense. Kayla Casas answered the Spartans goal with her second goal of the match, extending the Sun Devils lead to 8-3. A last-minute offensive flurry would ensue, with each side scoring a goal in the last 30 seconds of the period. Maud Koopman would beat the buzzer with her fourth goal of the match, as it came with just five seconds remaining to put the Sun Devils up 9-4 at the end of three.

Alkistis Benekou became one of two Sun Devils to record a hat trick in the contest, opening the final period with her third goal of the match. The redshirt senior now is tied for the team lead with 12 multi-goal performances this season. Mia Rycraw made a few crucial saves to stifle any potential Spartan comeback, as she finished with nine saves and continued to provide a steadying presnce in net. The final period of play would be controlled by a stingy Sun Devil defense, who prevented the Spartans from getting within striking distance.

Up next, the Sun Devils have a quick turnaround, as they will travel down the road to Stanford to take on the No. 1-ranked Cardinal in a Top-10 Showdown. The match will be televised live from Avery Aquatic Center on Pac-12 Network with Kevin Danna on the call. For more information including a Pac-12 Networks channel finder and T.V. Listings, visit this link (http://pac-12.com/tv-listings/pac-12-network). Visit our website and follow our social media for updates on Sunday's match and throughout the season