May 1, 2010
Los Angeles, Calif. - The No. 2 seed USC women's water polo team (22-2) held off No. 3 California (24-7) for a 9-7 victory in the second semifinal match of the 2010 MPSF Women's Water Polo Championship at Spieker Aquatics Center on the campus of UCLA on Saturday (May 1) afternoon.
The Trojans got on the board first when Joelle Bekhazi scored her 49th goal of the season with 5:17 left in the opening period. Cal got an equalizing goal from Emily Csikos, her 62nd of the year, at the 3:23 mark. USC reclaimed the lead with 1:51 remaining when Alexandra Kiss scored her 27th goal of the year on a 6-on-5 opportunity. But the Golden Bears scored a power play when Csikos scored to beat the buzzer and tie the match at 2-2.
Cal claimed its first lead of the match when Julie Oreglia scored her 18th of the season with 5:50 left in the second quarter for a 3-2 lead. Kiss scored her second of the day to tie it at 3-3 with 5:21 to go. Then Csikos completed her hat trick with 4:28 remaining to give the Golden Bears a 4-3 advantage. Not to be outdone, Kiss earned her own hat trick on an exclusion goal with just two seconds left to tie the score at 4-4. But Cal wasn't done in the first half, and neither was Csikos, as she scored her fourth goal of the first half as the buzzer sounded to give the Golden Bears a 5-4 lead at the break.
The Trojans earned a shutout in the third period, recording three goals to garner a 7-5 lead after three periods. Kally Lucas scored her 34th goal of the year to tie it at 5-5 with 7:27 left in the third. Then Kami Craig added her 33rd of the season on a power play goal with 6:25 remaining. Dominique Sardo ended the scoring in the third period, her 12th of the year on a breakaway at the 6:02 mark of the third.
Cal closed to within 7-6 when Oreglia scored her second of the day on the first possession of the final period with 7:37 left. Bekhazi scored again to put USC up 8-6 on a penalty shot with 6:20 to go. The Trojans scored their second straight goal when Patricia Jancso scored her 33rd of the season with 5:26 remaining. Cal's Camille Hewko trimmed the lead to 9-7 when she scored her 37th goal of the year with 4:11 remaining in the match. Both teams played stellar defense down the stretch and the Trojans came away with a 9-7 victory.
Tumua Anae finished the match with five saves in the cage for USC while Stephanie Peckham picked up five stops for California. Forel Davies won the first three sprints for USC while Csikos claimed the final sprint for Cal.
No. 2 USC advances to the Championship match where they will face No. 5 UCLA on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.
No. 3 California will face No. 2 Stanford in the 3rd-place match at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.
No. 3 California vs. No. 2 USC (MPSF Semifinal Match)
California Goals: Emily Csikos 4, Julie Oreglia 2, Camille
California Saves: Stephanie Peckham 5
USC Goals: Alexandra Kiss 3, Joelle Bekhazi 2, Kami Craig, Kally
Lucas, Dominique Sardo, Patricia Jasncso
USC Saves: Tumua Anae 5