Four USC women’s water polo players have at least one more trophy to take home after winning this past weekend’s Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament: Junior two-meter Hannah Buckling and junior goalie Flora Bolonyai, sophomore Monica Vavic and freshman Anni Espar were named to the all-tournament team for their outstanding performances in the three games.
Buckling was also named MVP of the tournament after leading the charge against the top-seeded Stanford Cardinal in the final game.
Buckling, who scored two goals in the opening game against CSU Bakersfield and then another against Arizona State in the semis, made certain to save her best performance for the final act.
After being held scoreless in her last showing against the Cardinal, Buckling burst out of the gates scoring two goals in the first quarter to help the Women of Troy jump to a 5-0 lead. She would add a goal apiece in the third and fourth quarters to lock down the 11-7 victory; her four goals on the day led all players in scoring.
Vavic, who has been a prolific scorer all season for the Women of Troy, did not disappoint in the biggest tournament of the season thus far. She put together a hat trick in each game, leading all USC scorers in the tournament with nine total goals. All three of her goals in the Stanford game came in the first half, draining the defending national champions of their confidence early in the matchup. With her selection, Vavic has now been named to the MPSF all-tournament team in both of her appearances.
Espar, playing in her first MPSF tournament, made her presence known in each game with two goals against each team. Bolonyai anchored the defense, averaging 9.3 saves per game, including nine big saves in the final game — one of which came on a 5-meter penalty-shot attempt.
The outstanding performance of these four players in the MPSF tournament, along with the rest of the USC squad, helped to earn the Women of Troy the top seed in the NCAA tournament. The tournament will be held in Cambridge, Mass., and begins on May 10.