The USC women’s water polo team captured its third national title by defeating top-seeded Stanford 10-9 in the NCAA championship in San Diego on May 16.
The Trojans were ahead by four goals in the fourth quarter when Stanford closed to within one in the final minute. But the No. 2-seeded Women of Troy staved off Stanford’s push and held on to claim this year’s NCAA title.
USC finished the year with a 25-3 record. USC’s last NCAA title came in 2004, and this year marked the Trojans’ seventh consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament.
USC head coach Jovan Vavic won his eighth national championship (five men’s and three women’s). It is the third time he has claimed men’s and women’s national titles back-to-back.
Vavic’s team won the 1998 men’s NCAA championship, followed by the women’s 1999 national championship, the 2003 men’s and 2004 women’s NCAA crowns, and he now has followed the USC men’s 2008 and 2009 titles with the 2010 women’s championship.
USC’s 2010 NCAA women’s water polo championship gives the university 112 national team titles.
The team’s balanced scoring and stellar defense proved to be the difference. Seven Trojans scored in the win, while the defense forced numerous Stanford turnovers and shut down the Cardinal when it mattered most.
USC’s five seniors go out as national champions, thanks to an all-around effort that saw Kami Craig, Kally Lucas and Alexandra Kiss score in the title match, while Forel Davies served up a key assist in the fourth period. Goalie Tumua Anae made eight saves.
In all, USC’s scoring included two goals each for Kristen Dronberger, Patricia Jancso and Lucas, along with scores from Joelle Bekhazi, Dominique Sardo, Kiss and Craig.
Craig was named the NCAA tournament most valuable player, with teammates Anae, Davies and Dronberger named to the NCAA all-tournament first team.