Welcome to this week’s USA weekly – a bite size round-up of all the most important action taking place in the US over the last seven days.
One of the biggest Invitationals took place last weekend – the Barbara Kalbus Invitational – and you can read all about how Stanford defeated USC in that final below.
Looking forward though, there is some interesting Conference fixtures scheduled for this weekend too. In short, it’s all getting very busy!
Barbara Kalbus Invitational
The only important event in town this weekend was at the Barbara Kalbus Invitational, where there was late drama in the final between bitter rivals, Stanford and USC. With both teams boasting perfect records so far this season, something had to give.
In an epic rematch of last year’s NCAA championship, Sophie Wallace emerged as the hero of the day, scoring a last-gasp goal with just 10 seconds remaining to secure a thrilling 11-10 victory for Stanford. The win not only cemented the Cardinal’s status as the top-ranked team in the nation but also saw them claim their sixth tournament crown at the Invitational.
Young superstar Jenna Flynn continues to shine, netting five goals against the Trojans in the final, with national teammate Ryann Neushul bagging four.
Both sides impressed en route to the final. Stanford saw-off Pomona-Pitzer, Long Beach and then Cal Bears in the semifinals. USC reached the final-brawl with wins over LMU, Arizona State and UCLA in the semifinals.
Despite a valiant effort from USC, they were unable to overcome Stanford’s relentless attack, and now the Cardinal extends their dominant run of form over their rivals, winning four of their last five encounters. While a runners-up medal is no shame, Marko Pintaric knows his team needs to find a way to defeat their NCAA title-rivals.
There was a third-place finish at the Invitational for the impressive California Golden Bears. Coralie Simmons’ team once again breezed past UC Davis (8-3) before sealing a thrilling victory over Hawaii in extra time. They’ll take the most encouragement, though, from their bronze-medal brawl with UCLA, triumphing 9-7. In terms of quality of opposition, it’s their best victory of the season.
Elsewhere, Hawaii won three of their four games, with their only defeat coming against Cal in overtime, while it was a disappointing showing at Corona Del Mar for Michigan, who suffered surprise defeats to Long Beach (9-10) and UC Davis (12-10). The Arizona Sun Devils also finished with a single victory, taking their season ratio to six victories and six defeats.
MPSF Conference Games, 4th March
There are two MPSF conference games taking place this weekend, with Barbara Kalbus winners Stanford travelling to Indiana and Cal hosting Arizona State.
Stanford, who are yet to lose in all competitions this season, will be strong favourites to defeat the 11th ranked Indiana. Cal Bears, who have already defeated Arizona earlier this month (15-3), will expect another strong showing at Spieker Aquatics Centre.
21:00 (CET) – California Bears vs Arizona Sun Devils
22:00 (CET) – Indiana vs Stanford Cardinal
Big West Conference Games, 3rd/4th March
The MPSF isn’t the only conference rocking this weekend. The Big West makes its return.
On Friday (early Saturday morning in Europe), Long Beach hosts San Diego. With Long Beach yet to lose in their four home games this season, while San Diego haven’t recorded a victory on the road this campaign, Shana Welch will be confident that her team can bag a decent result.
The day after, the 6th ranked UC Irvine will be favourites when they match up with Santa Barbara, a game in which they will need to tread with caution, as Serala Kay’s side have put up stiff resistance against some of the top teams already this season.
04:00 (CET) – Long Beach vs UC San Diego
21:00 (CET) – UC Irvine vs UC Santa Barbara
CWPA Conference Games, 3rd March/5th March
Lastly, the CWPA conference is in full swing this weekend too at the Wolverine invitational in Ann Arbor. The hosts Michigan play two games on Saturday, against Bucknell and Saint Francis.
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