After spending the first two weeks of the season on the road, the No. 2 USC women’s water polo team will play their first game in their home pool when they host No. 15 San Diego State on Friday at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center at 5 p.m.
The Trojans (7-0) are coming off a strong outing at the CBU Mini Invitational in Riverside, Calif., where they outscored Concordia University and Whittier College by a combined 50-5 margin, over the weekend. Fifteen different players tallied goals over the weekend, displaying the balance that head coach Jovan Vavic has on this year’s squad.
USC is led by their pair of senior All-American drivers in Stephania Haralabidis and Ioanna Haralabidis, who are first and second on the team in scoring with 25 and 17 goals, respectively. Freshman utility Maud Megens has made an early impact for the Trojans, recording 15 goals for third-best on the team, while senior two-meter Brigitta Games and freshman driver Denise Mammolito have notched 11 goals apiece. In seven games, USC has recorded 131 goals compared to just 25 goals allowed.
Defensively, a trio of goalies have split time in the cage this season. Junior Victória Chamorro holds the top saves per game average with 12.0 saves per game and only seven total goals allowed. Sophomore Amanda Longan leads the team with 36 total saves and an 11.1 saves per game average, while freshman Holly Parker has hauled in 10 saves on the season.
The last time USC and San Diego State matched up was at the 2016 NCAA Quarterfinals last May. The Trojans won with a comfortable 12-3 score, led by junior utility Hayley McKelvey’s hat trick. USC holds the 36-9 all-time series lead and has won its last 35 games against the Aztecs.
Furthermore, Friday’s game could help Stephania move up USC’s career scoring chart. Currently sitting at No. 6 all-time with 210 career goals, Stephania needs just four goals to pass Nina Wengst (1999-02) for fifth all-time and six goals to pass Moriah Van Norman (2003-06) for fourth all-time.
Following their home opener, the Trojans will participate in a doubleheader on Saturday as part of the 2017 Whittier Invitational. USC faces off against Pomona-Pitzer at 9 a.m., followed by a game against Chapman University at 10:30 a.m.