Women’s water polo captures NCAA title with last second heroics

first_imgThe No. 1 women’s water polo team took home the NCAA title, topping off their undefeated season at 26-0.The Women of Troy won the 102nd national title for the school and the fifth title for the program.Seeded first in the bracket, the Trojans defeated San Diego State 12-3 in the quarterfinals and Michigan 9-6 in the semifinals. In their final game they faced defending NCAA champion Stanford for the fourth time this season and were able to pull out a 8-7 win to clinch the title.“It was just one of those unbelievable games,” head coach Jovan Vavic said after the game. “The Cardinals were a really tough team today and it was just a good team effort from us.”USC was able to start strong, gaining a 1-0 lead as junior driver Stephania Haralabidis was able to convert a penalty shot. The Cardinal then able to tie the game in  a 6-on-5 advantage. In the second period, the Trojans were able to take a 3-1 advantage when junior 2-meter Brigitta Games scored on a pass from junior driver Ioanna Haralabidis. The Cardinal was able to shorten the gap on a power play at the end of the second period, giving USC a 3-2 lead heading into halftime.In the beginning of the third period, Stanford was able to tie the score again at 3-3 after successfully converting another power play. On another 6-on-5 advantage, the Women of Troy were able to regain the lead. At the end of the period, sophomore driver Brianna Daboub was able to get another penalty shot, successfully converted by Stephania Haralabidis, putting USC up 5-3 entering the last frame.Midway through the last period, Stanford closed the gap at 5-4 with a lob, but the Women of Troy scored back on a goal by Games only 20 seconds later. A power play goal from Stanford and another goal from Daboub marked 7-5 on the scoreboard with 52 seconds left on the clock. The defending champions fired back five seconds later to close the gap. The Cardinal recorded a save on defense that opened the way for a rebound goal that tied the score at 7-7. With 11 seconds left on the clock, Stephania Haralabidis was able to score her fifth goal of the day. The Cardinal’s last attempt to score was saved by freshman goalie Amanda Longan, giving the Trojans the title and an undefeated season.“This is what a team is, we fight until the last second,” Stephania Haralabidis said after the game. “There were 11 seconds on the clock and my team trusted me. We fight for each other, we play for each other — that was my heart out there.”It is Vavic’s second undefeated season with the women’s team and fourth as a Trojan head coach for both the men’s and women’s programs together.Stephania Haralabidis was named NCAA Tournament MVP for scoring eight goals in the tournament, including five of them in the final. She was joined by Games and her twin Ioanna Haralabidis on the NCAA All-Tournament First Team. Daboub was named to the second team.last_img read more

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