Bound for a 10th consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament on May 10, the USC women’s water polo team will carry a barrel of honors into the event.
Fresh off winning a third Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) championship, the Women of Troy have placed five players onto the list for All-MPSF awards.
Topping the chart is USC Head Coach Jovan Vavic, who has been named MPSF Women’s Coach of the Year for the fourth time in his career. Sophomore Monica Vavic, the coach’s daughter, was named MPSF Player of the Year, and teammates Flora Bolonyai, Anni Espar, Kaleigh Gilchrist and Hannah Buckling also found themselves on the All-MPSF list.
Bolonyai, Espar and Monica Vavic landed on the All-MPSF first team, Gilchrist claimed All-MPSF second team honors and Buckling earned honorable mention. Buckling and Espar were also named on the newcomer team.
The association’s three previous Women’s Coach of the Year awards for Jovan Vavic were followed by national championships. The MPSF Coach of the Year on the women’s side in 1999, 2004 and 2010, Vavic has added the 2013 award to his growing list of honors.
As coach of the USC men and women, Vavic has hauled in a grand total of 10 MPSF Coach of the Year accolades. That goes along with 11 national championships, as the USC women now prepare to play for a fourth national title.
To date, the USC men and women have won national championships three times in the same school year — 1998-99, 2003-04 and 2009-10 — as Vavic and his crew takes aim at making it a 2012-13 sweep this season.
Vavic will carry a career coaching record of 434-132 on the women’s side with USC into this week’s NCAA Championships in Boston. At 24-1 overall, the Women of Troy have already recorded their 15th 20-win season in program history, with the 24 wins standing as the most in a season since 2010 when USC last won the NCAA title.
In just under two seasons of action, sophomore Vavic has established a body of work that has put her in the USC history books.
As the 2013 MPSF Player of the Year, Vavic has picked up the Trojans’ ninth such award. She led the conference in scoring with 2.84 goals per game, having scored in every game to score a whopping 71 goals that ranks her No. 4 all-time at USC in single-season scoring and puts her in striking distance of the top three by season’s end. Also an All-MPSF first-team selection as a freshman, Vavic has continued to impress on both ends of the pool, standing out as a key distributor and defensive force for the Trojans in addition to providing key goals. Last year, Vavic was the first USC true freshman since 1999 to be named first team All-American and All-MPSF.
The backbone of the USC defense is junior goalie Bolonyai, who returned from the 2012 Olympic Games ready for action. Already a two-time All-American entering her junior season, Bolonyai now has her first spot on the 2013 All-MPSF first team, following a second-team selection last year. She is averaging 7.9 saves and 5.0 goals-against per game entering the 2013 NCAA Championships.