Athletics News

USC Wins 2018 NCAA Women's Water Polo Championship


USC won the fifth NCAA women's water polo title in program history on Sunday
USC won the fifth NCAA women's water polo title in program history on Sunday
May 13, 2018

Via USC Athletics

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. — In a defensive battle for the 2018 NCAA Championship, it was the top-seeded host USC women’s water polo team that had the hot hand when it counted. Sophomore Denise Mammolito’s third goal of the second half was the decider, although a huge 10th save from goalie Amanda Longan would help secure things late in the fourth as the Trojans locked up their sixth national championship with a 5-4 victory over No. 2 seeded Stanford today at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center. With USC’s 16th straight win of the year, the Trojans claimed the university’s 105th NCAA team championship and the sixth for the USC women’s water polo program. It was USC’s second NCAA title in three years, and improved the 2018 Trojans to a final 26-1 overall record. It was head coach Jovan Vavic’s 15th national championship as a head coach at USC, with six titles won by the USC women and nine by the USC men — all under Vavic’s watch.

At the close of the tourney, USC’s junior goalie Amanda Longan was named the NCAA Tournament MVP, joined by teammates Brianna Daboub, Paige Hauschild and Denise Mammolito on the All-Tournament First Team, while sophomore Maud Megens landed a spot on the All-Tournament Second Team. But it’s fair to say that every Trojan had a hand in this 2018 NCAA crown.

Some of the bigger hands were Hauschild and Longan, as Hauschild’s steal on the defensive end keyed a Trojan attack that saw Kelsey McIntosh find Mammolito for a ripper that nudged USC ahead 5-4 with 1:57 to go in the fourth. With 12 ticks to go, Longan’s trusty hands turned away a Stanford strike, and USC was able to hold on for the victory in home waters, prompting a plunge into the pool for the Trojan team and coaching staff.

It was a defensive stalemate for the first 10 minutes before Stanford broke through first to take a 1-0 lead with 5:31 on the clock in the second. Minutes later, a Stanford offensive foul fueled a Trojan attack that had Megens find senior captain Daboub for a bullet that leveled it 1-1 with 2:46 remaining in the half. In the third frame, Stanford struck again, netting a 6-on-5 finish for a 2-1 advantage early in the frame. Not 30 second later, Daboub had gotten the Trojans up on a power play of their own, and sophomore Mammolito hammered it home for another equalizer. Two minutes after that, Longan made a key stop, but Stanford came up with the rebound and punched it through for another Cardinal lead, up 3-2 at 4:16 in the third. USC would kill off Stanford’s next power play change, and then hard work from Hayley McKelvey earned USC the advantage, prompting freshman Hauschild to level it again with a ripper for a 3-3 score at the end of the third.

In the fourth, Mammolito won the day for the Trojans on the offensive end. She’d take a feed from McKelvey and zip it into the low left corner to grant USC its first lead of the game, up 4-3 on USC’s first possession of the fourth. With 5:45 on the clock, Stanford struck back on a 6-on-5 to snarl it up at 5-5, prompting another defensive battle. Back-to-back steals from Hauschild kept USC in good shape, with the latter takeaway serving as the spark for Mammolito’s winner, ripped in with 1:57 to go off McIntosh’s counterattack feed. Stanford would misfire on a 6-on-5 chance, then Longan made her 10th save to stymie the Cardinal and set up USC’s final steps to the championship victory.

2018 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS (Uytengsu Aquatics Center | Los Angeles)

CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
[1] USC 5, [2] Stanford 4
USC 0 - 1 - 2 - 2 = 5
STAN 0 - 1 - 2 - 1 = 4

SCORING:
USC — Denise Mammolito 3, Brianna Daboub, Paige Hauschild.
STAN — Jordan Raney, Madison Berggren, Aria Fischer, Kat Klass.

SAVES: Amanda Longan (USC) 10, Julie Hermann (STAN) 10.

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