Women’s water polo opens MPSF play with another win

The top-ranked Trojans hit the road to Tempe, AZ, on Saturday to face off against the Sun Devils and came away with an 8-3 win over Arizona State. The game marked the official start of the MPSF season for the Trojans, taking their record to 1-0 in MPSF and 12-0 overall.

USC’s defense held the Sun Devils to just 3 goals over four periods of play with big defensive stops coming from freshman goalie Amanda Longan. Longan tallied five saves, including a 5-meter penalty shot block.

While Longan helped shut down ASU offense, the Trojans started taking the lead early in the game 2-0 with a pair of goals from juniors Stephania Haralibidis and Brigitta Games. ASU answered back with a power play goal, trailing closely behind the Trojans.

In the second quarter, the Trojans fired off another goal from top scorer of the evening Avery Peterson who nailed in her first of three goals to bring the score to 3-1. The Sun Devils answered back closing the gap to 3-2, but the Trojan offense lit up the cage with a pair of goals from the junior pair Stephania Haralabidis and Ioanna Haralabidis.

The Trojans switched into high gear in the second half putting two more goals on the board from Brianna Daboub and Peterson during the third quarter while Longan recorded a third quarter shutout. ASU answered back, making the score 6-3, but the Trojans still wanted more. In the fourth quarter, Games fired one into the cage from the two-meter position while Peterson converted a hat trick to bring the final score to 8-3.

USC is the lone undefeated team in the MPSF conference. Stephania Haralabidis won back-to-back MPSF Player of the Week awards and has moved to No. 9 in USC’s top 10 all time scorers for water polo with 155 goals to her name. Longan also garnered multiple MPSF Newcomer awards after coming up with big saves against UC Irvine and UCLA in last weekend’s tournament.

This Friday, the Trojans will host a non-conference game against UC Irvine at the Uytengsu Aquatic Center. In their last match-up over the weekend, the Trojans barely escaped with a victory with a final score of 11-10 that moved USC into the semi-finals of the UC Irvine Invitational.