In a spectacular MPSF conference match, USC was able to avenge their NCAA final defeat from the previous season with a 17-12 win over Stanford at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center.
The Trojans put on an impressive display, particularly in the fourth period where they blew the Cardinal out of the water. The win takes USC to the top of the MPSF conference table, while abruptly ending Stanford’s 16 game win streak.
USC’s Bayley Weber is really having the season of her life. The USA international put in another brilliant display for Marko Pintaric’s team, finding four goals. Tilly Kearns, the most devastating centre-forward in collegiate play at the moment, was also at the top of her game, with three goals, and four crucial exclusions drawn.
John Tanners ‘Card’ were spurred on by the five goals from their Freshman, Jenna Flynn, but the reigning NCAA champions had no answer to USC’s majestic last-quarter shift.
The game started off with an electrifying performance from USC, who took an early 3-0 lead courtesy of Tehaney, Janov, and Kearns. Their defence remained resolute, but Stanford fought back and managed to level the score at 3-3 with two expertly taken penalty shots from Jenna Flynn and Jewel Roemer, both members of Team USA.
The back-and-forth battle continued into the second period, where the Cardinal took their first and only lead of the match with back-to-back goals to make it 5-4 with just over three minutes remaining. However, USC quickly responded, and a power-play goal from Morgan Netherton and a counter-attack goal from Honnie Vandeweghe-O’Shea to Hauschild put the Trojans back in front 6-5. Flynn grabbed her second penalty shot to level the score once again at the end of the second period (6-6).
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The third period was an intense affair, with both teams exchanging goals. USC received six exclusions, including two penalties, but they maintained their composure and hit six goals through five different players, including back-to-back goals from Netherton and Weber to take a 9-7 lead. Stanford managed to reduce the deficit to one, but a hat trick from Kearns put USC up 11-9 with just under four minutes left on the clock. Stanford responded with a 6-on-4 advantage to make it a one-goal game, but a steal from Guiral and a finish from Tehaney extended USC’s lead to 12-10.
Stanford put away their fifth 5-metre penalty shot to reduce the deficit to one once again, but it was USC who dominated in the fourth period, scoring four unanswered goals to secure a resounding 16-11 victory. It was a hard-fought game, but USC showed their quality and resilience to come out on top, avenging their defeat from the previous season’s NCAA final.
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