Water polo anticipates solo game weekend

After last weekend’s successful bout with three top-ranked teams, the women’s water polo team will slow down with a single game this weekend, hosting a home game against No. 13 Hartwick on Saturday.

Sophomore driver Denise Mammolito looks across the pool looking for an open teammate. With 31 goals scored, the 6-foot-1 scoring machine has tallied the second most goals for USC in 2018. Emily Smith | Daily Trojan

The Hawks are 23-5 on the season, and they’re hot off a streak of success on the road in California this past week, going 4-1 with a single 15-7 loss to No. 4 UCLA. The team’s last loss came at the hands of No. 9 Michigan, but the team has notched wins over top-ranked teams, including No. 10 Indiana and a solid 14-6 win over No. 13 San Diego State University.

To keep its home pool dominance intact, USC will need to lock down on senior Hartwick utility Zsofia Polak, who led the team last season with 92 goals and 56 assists. The Trojans have allowed only one home loss so far this season, a 3-9 heartbreaker in the final game of the Barbara Kalbus Invitational against Stanford.

The game will come after the team finished its third sweep of the MPSF weekly awards this season. Sophomore driver Denise Mammolito picked up her first career award as MPSF Player of the Week after scoring nine goals in three games. Her breakout game came against No. 8 Princeton, when she scored 4 goals to help the team pick up a 17-4 win.

She continued to shine against No. 6 Arizona State, when she notched a hat trick in the first half to defeat the Sun Devils in a 12-6 victory, then followed the early scoring flurry with an assist and a steal. Mammolito is now the team’s second leading scorer of the year, netting 31 goals on the season.

Freshman Paige Hauschild also starred yet again with her fifth MPSF Newcomer of the Week award so far in her rookie season. After going 11-for-11 on opening sprints, Hauschild picked up 7 goals through the Trojans’ winning weekend. Alongside Mammolito, she notched another hat trick in the team’s victory over Princeton, and recorded a goal, an assist and a steal along with four winning sprints against Arizona State.

Hauschild rounded out the weekend with three goals, two steals and an assist over No. 8 Pacific. She leads the team on the attack with 43 goals, and is now close to becoming only the sixth freshman to ever notch 50 or more goals in their rookie season in cardinal and gold.

Action against Hartwick will kick off at noon on Saturday, as the team closes out its third-to-last weekend of MPSF play before heading into the postseason.