The No. 1 women’s water polo team won its sixth straight Triton Invitational title this weekend in La Jolla.
The Trojans took down Pomona-Pitzer 15-4 Saturday to kick off the weekend. Eleven Trojans scored in the victory over the Sagehens, and USC allowed no goals in the entire first half of the game — it entered the third period up 12-0. The Sagehens mustered some offense in the second half, but USC’s early lead allowed it to take the game easily.
USC moved on to defeat No. 15 Loyola Marymount in its second match Saturday. The Trojans leaped to a 3-0 lead over the Lions right out of the gate, and they kept their scoring momentum throughout the match. Junior utility Maud Megens and freshman driver Alejandra Anzar each had hat tricks, and eight other scoring Trojans contributed to the 16-5 victory.
On Sunday, the Trojans moved on to the semifinal match against No. 11 Michigan, winning 10-3 for their second victory over the Wolverines this season. Michigan kept the Trojans in check early, tying the score at 2-2 to start the match. USC allowed Michigan only one more goal in the third period, shutting them out in both the second and fourth periods. Megens led the Trojans offensively with 4 goals, and senior goalie Amanda Longan anchored the defense with 14 saves.
Longan said the team could have been more focused defensively against the Wolverines.
“I think our awareness of when to help and when to switch defensively was a little delayed, so the faster that happens, the faster we can recover from mistakes,” she said.
In its final match of the weekend, USC advanced to the championship game against undefeated crosstown rival No. 3 UCLA. The Trojans shut out the Bruins in the first half, bringing the score to 6-0. Longan had 11 saves for the match, while sophomore driver Paige Hauschild and junior driver Denise Mammolito netted 3 goals each to lead the offense. UCLA never came close to the Trojans, who finished with a decisive 10-3 victory to claim the tournament title.
Four games in two days can be a daunting task for some teams, but not the Trojans, who swept their competition throughout the weekend with ease.
“I’ve found that if you actually put in the work to prepare, and during the week you think about who you’re going to match up against, then you’re a lot more confident and mentally prepared when you go into the weekend and playing four games doesn’t seem as bad,” Longan said.
Throughout the weekend, the Trojans spread their scoring among many players.
“I think offensively we were very well-rounded shooting-wise,” Longan said. “We have a lot of freshmen that actually play this year that are brand new, some of them just came this semester. What’s great is that in your first year, you’re usually a little timid to try things or offensively you just become a little bit more timid, but everybody had a presence shooting-wise.”
Longan said the Trojans will focus on game fundamentals moving forward.
“If everybody has those fundamentals to go in and be able to play any role, then we’re just a lot more well-rounded and better off,” Longan said. “So I think for us the focus on the fundamentals and how we defend one-on-one and how we contribute to the offense is something we talk about all the time, and just being a better adjusting team.”
The Trojans remain at home this week to match up against the Chinese International Team for the second time this season in an exhibition game Tuesday at 5 p.m. They will then host Indiana for a conference match Saturday at 4 p.m. The Hoosiers are new to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference.
USC will host both teams at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center this week.