LOS ANGELES — The No. 1 USC women’s water polo team trailed by two in the fourth period before Denise Mammolito unleashed her fifth and sixth goals of the day to help force overtime. Mammolito’s seventh goal proved to be the winner, while fellow senior Holly Parker hauled in two more huge saves on her way to a 12-save outing to join Mammolito with a career day in the Trojans’ 12-11 win over visiting No. 2 Stanford at Uytengsu Aquatics Center. The victory keeps USC perfect on the year, now at 14-0 overall and 8-0 in MPSF play.
USC had the upper hand first with a 2-0 lead until Stanford found its scoring touch. The score would tie up four times in the first half, with senior Verica Bakoc hammering home a hat trick along the way. Her third blast snarled things up at 5-5 by halftime. In the second half, the Trojans would find themselves trailing by two on three occasions, but Mammolito just would not go away. She’d pull USC one back on a feed from Bakoc and then answered the call again off an assist from Grace Tehaney. In the final minute of the third, it was Maud Megens who found Mammolito’s hot hand for her fourth of the day, which locked things even at 8-8. Yet again, Stanford struck back, going back ahead with a late strike to lead it 9-8 entering the fourth. The Cardinal got an early goal to go to put USC behind 10-8. In those next seven minutes, however, the Trojans were locked in. While the Trojan defense — anchored by Parker’s stand in the cage — turned away Stanford, Mammolito rose up for two more. Her fifth topped off a Trojans 6-on-5, and her sixth — a new career high — came on a sizzling 5-meter penalty shot drawn by Megens. That blast leveled it at 10-10 with 3:14 on the clock, and neither team could find a crack in the other the rest of the way.
USC’s first overtime appearance of the year saw the Trojans in full force. Tehaney’s patience paid off as the junior ripped in the go-ahead goal for USC’s first lead since the second period. Up 11-10, the Trojans stayed poised on the defensive end. Kelsey McIntosh nabbed a steal and would find Mammolito on the counter for a searing score that nudged USC ahead 12-10 with 31 seconds left in the first OT. Parker would stand tall for another save to close out the frame and bring up the second 3-minute span of overtime. With time and a two-goal lead on its side, USC stayed in control. Parker squashed another Stanford 6-on-5 look to keep USC’s lead intact, and it wasn’t until the final second that Stanford was able to find a goal that wrapped the game as a 12-11 USC victory. In all, USC held Stanford scoreless for a full 13 minutes en route to the Trojan victory.
Next up for undefeated USC is its final home stand next weekend. The Trojans will host Arizona State for 11 a.m. meetings on Saturday (April 17) and Sunday (April 12) at Uytengsu Aquatics Center.
#1 USC 12, #2 Stanford 11 (OT)
April 11, 2021 | Uytengsu Aquatics Center (Los Angeles, Calif.)