No. 2 USC Women’s Water Polo Stays In Home Waters To Host No. 20 Spartans

Courtesy: USC Athletics

#2 USC (20-1, 2-0) vs. #20 San José St. (12-13, 0-1)
Saturday, April 1 | 3 p.m. | Uytengsu Aquatics Center
Series Record (since 1998): USC leads 42-0
Last Meeting: USC 18, SJSU 5 (April 3, 2022)

No. 2 USC’s home stand continues this week with another MPSF matchup at Uytengsu Aquatics Center. The Trojans (20-1, 2-0 MPSF) host No. 20 San José State (12-13, 0-1) at 3 p.m. on Saturday (April 1).

This weekend’s USC-SJSU clash will be streamed live at with Carlo Jiménez and Eli Kleinmann on the call. Live stats can be found at

USC picked up the No. 2 ranking in the nation to open 2023, mirroring the Trojans’ 2022 finish. As of the latest round of national rankings (released March 29), USC still sits at No. 2 in the land.

Competing in home waters for the first time in over a month, USC was all business in ringing up its 20th win of the year, beating visiting No. 19 Indiana 16-4 for an MPSF victory at Uytengsu Aquatics Center. Bayley Weber served up four goals and Paige Hauschild and Grace Tehaney had three apiece in the win. USC’s veterans punched up the first three goals of the day as Hauschild opened the Trojans’ account followed by strikes from Tehaney and Weber. Indiana got one to go next, only to see Mireia Guiral dish out one of her five assists on the day in finding Alejandra Aznar to complete a USC 6-on-5 opportunity. After goalie Carolyne Stern made three straight saves, Guiral found Tehaney for another power play blast, and USC was up 5-1 at the end of the first. Four more Trojan goal rattled the back of the net in the second as Hauschild got to a first-half hat trick, Weber found her second and Honnie Vandeweghe-O’Shea joined the scoresheet to help USC ahead 9-2 by halftime. The Hoosiers struck early in the third, but USC fired off three next. Tehaney’s third came in that frame, while Weber knocked in two more to make it a four-goal day for her and a 12-3 lead for the Trojans entering the fourth. Stern stepped aside with eight saves under her cap, giving way to Laine Hourigan for the final eight minutes of action. With Hourigan backing things up, the USC defense stayed stingy. Indiana would break though on a 6-on-5 midway through the fourth, while USC’s offense kept clicking. Christina Crum found Claire Haas for a strike out of set, and Fanni Muzsnay wrapped two goals around a solo shot from Hannah Meyer as USC closed out the 16-4 home win over the Hoosiers.
– Now 20-1 overall, USC has recorded at least 20 wins in 11 of the last 12 seasons (USC had 12 wins in 2020 when the competition was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic).
– This is USC’s 24th 20-win season in program history.
– With four goals today, Bayley Weber continues to lead the team in multiple-goal games, now with 16 this season.
– Weber also leads the team with goals in 19 games this season.
– Weber now has scored 54 goals this season — a new personal best.
– Weber and Hauschild continue to rank No. 10 and 11, respectively, in career scoring — Weber now with 197 career goals and Hauschild with 192.
– USC is now 17-0 all-time against Indiana in a series history dating back to 1997.

Now 21 games deep into 2023, USC’s balanced scoring charge is led by Bayley Weber with 54 goals, followed by Tilly Kearns with 42 and Alejandra AznarPaige Hauschild and Grace Tehaney with 28 apiece. In all, 23 Trojans have scored at least one goal to date, including eight with their first goals as Trojans. Defensively, all four USC goalies have factored into the 20-1 start, led by senior Carolyne Stern. Stern is averaging 9.7 saves per game thanks in part to a career-high 16 saves made against Long Beach State on Jan. 28 — one of five double-digit saves outings by Stern so far this season. USC’s other three goalies — Laine HouriganSofia Stein and Jada Ward — are in their first season of action as Trojans. Overall, the group averages 10.1 saves per game to anchor a Trojan defense giving up just 6.8 goals per game. USC has outscored opponents 356-143 so far, while holding teams scoreless in 14 different periods to date, including a powerful second-half shutout of No. 6 UC Irvine on Feb. 18.

Redshirt seniors Paige Hauschild and Bayley Weber are neck-and-neck as they climb USC’s all-time scoring ladder. Weber recently captured the No. 10 spot and now holds 197 career goals, just ahead of No. 11 Hauschild with 192 to date. Several more veteran Trojans are also on the climb. Grace Tehaney sits at No. 16 with 151 to her name. Meanwhile, Tilly Kearns, who joined the 100-goal club at USC earlier this season, now holds 135 goals as a Trojan to stand on the brink of the top-20 zone. Mireia Guiral also is on the rise with 114 career goals. On the defensive end, senior goalie Carolyne Stern has taken over at No. 8 all-time among USC goalies and now holds 331 career saves.

USC redshirt senior Grace Tehaney earned her first selection as MPSF Player of the Week after scoring five goals across two USC victories in Honolulu. Against No. 5 host Hawai’i, Tehaney tallied two goals and added an assist in USC’s 16-7 win over the Rainbow Wahine. Two days later, the lefty was 3-for-3 on the attack to record a hat trick while also nabbing two steals in a 16-7 win over San Diego State. She is the third Trojan to win the MPSF’s weekly award this season, following selections by Tilly Kearns and Bayley Weber.

Bayley Weber was a driving force in a key MPSF road win in Berkeley. For her all-around efforts to help the Trojans top No. 3 California, Weber was named MPSF Player of the Week on March 14. Weber was USC’s top scorer with four goals in the Trojans’ 15-14 overtime win at Cal. Weber also drew three exclusions and had one assist, one field block and a steal in the key conference victory. With her efforts in the Trojan win, Weber leads the team with 13 multiple-goal outings this season. She is tied for the team lead with goals scored in 16 of USC’s 18 games this season. This is Weber’s second MPSF Player of the Week selection this season and the fourth of her USC career.

USC’s 2023 captains are a decorated pair. Both 2020 Olympians, Paige Haushild and Tilly Kearns are the experienced backbone of the Trojan roster once again. Kearns finished the 2022 season at the top of the scoring leaderboard with 64 goals — 10th most scored in a single season in program history — and as a Peter J. Cutino Award finalist. The Aussie Olympian earned spots on the 2022 NCAA All-Tournament First Team, the MPSF All-Tournament Team and All-MPSF First Team for her work at two-meters. Olympic gold medalist Hauschild collected 47 goals of her own last season while applying pressure on both sides of the pool. Hauschild was a freshman when USC won the NCAA Championship in 2018, although both she and Kearns were away training with their respective Olympic teams when the Trojans last won it all in 2021. Hauschild and Kearns are two of seven returning All-Americans on the 2023 USC roster, alongside Alejandra AznarMireia GuiralCarolyne SternGrace Tehaney and Bayley Weber.

In all, USC returns 13 members of its 16-member roster from the 2022 NCAA Tournament. In addition to its seven All-Americans, experienced depth returns in the form of seniors Téa Poljak, Claire HaasBrooklyn Aguilera and Christina Crum, along with junior Julia Janov and sophomores Honnie Vandeweghe-O’Shea  and Isabel Zimmerman..

YOUNG GUNS            
USC’s newest additions come from an array of the best talent in the world, including U.S. pipeline members Morgan Netherton and Maggie Johnson. The Trojans also have added Fresno State transfer Fanni Muzsnay, who also has international experience as a member of the Hungarian National Team. Freshman Alex Bonaguidi is tabbed for duty at center, joined by redshirt sophomore Hannah Meyer, who sat out last season due to injury.

LAST SEASON            
In 2022, USC posted a 20-4 overall record while making an 18th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Trojans went a perfect 6-0 in MPSF competition before taking second in the MPSF Tournament and reaching a fourth consecutive NCAA final. USC had beaten Fresno State 15-9 in the quarterfinals and then topped Cal 9-7 in the semis to face Stanford in the title match, falling 10-7 to the Cardinal. At the close of the season, Tilly Kearns was selected as a finalist for the Peter J. Cutino Award and was a First Team All-American along with Paige Hauschild. They were joined by fellow All-Americans Bayley Weber (Second Team), Carolyne Stern (Third Team), Mireia Guiral (Honorable Mention) and Grace Tehaney (Honorable Mention). Head coach Marko Pintaric was named MPSF Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season. •

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