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The Perfect Season

Clockwise from top left: Sarah Mix, Melissa Madrid, Britany Hayes and Amy Escalante.

Freshman Brittany Hayes scored three goals and added four assists as the USC Trojans defeated the Loyola Marymount Lions to capture the 2004 NCAA women’s water polo championship.

With the May 9 victory at the Avery Aquatic Center in Stanford, the Women of Troy became the first team in the four-year history of the NCAA championship to go undefeated on the season as USC registered a 29-0 record.

Hayes was named the tournament’s most valuable player after scoring five goals in two matches.

“I was always confident in my team,” Hayes said.

The No. 1 seed Women of Troy completed the water polo sweep after the USC men’s team won the 2003 NCAA Championship in December at Stanford. It is the second time that the USC men’s and women’s teams have won a national title in the same school year. The 1998 men’s team won the NCAA title, while the 1999 women’s team won the National Collegiate Championship (women’s water polo was not an NCAA-sponsored championship until 2001).

With the win, USC now has four national championships during the 2003-04 school year (including football, women’s volleyball and men’s water polo) – the most team titles since 1976-77 when USC teams won a combined five championships.

“This is big time for us after we had three difficult years,” USC head coach Jovan Vavic said. “Once you win a national title, it’s like getting a huge monkey off your back. I did not really look at the [29-0] record because for us, it was more important to win the title.”

The Women of Troy celebrated by grabbing Vavic and the rest of his staff, pushing them into the pool for the traditional championship celebration.

USC will be loaded for the future as the team graduates only two seniors from this year’s squad.

“We should be in great shape for the next few years,” Vavic said. “The fun part is that we are young and very talented.”

The Perfect Season

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