No. 4 USC Women’s Water Polo Falls Short In Defensive Battle With No. 1 UCLA

Courtesy: USC Athletics

LOS ANGELES — The No. 4 USC women’s water polo team shut out No. 1 UCLA in the first and last periods of play, but the Bruins caught a late break in the third to claim a 7-5 win over the Trojans today at Uytengsu Aquatics Center. It was USC’s final home game of the year, as the Trojans take the No. 4 seed for the coming MPSF Tournament carrying a 17-6 overall record.

USC brought its defensive game today, silencing the Bruins in the first eight minutes of action while taking the first lead of the day on a spicy crosscage score from Alejandra AznarAva Stryker nabbed one of her five steals in the game to help shut down the first with USC’s 1-0 lead in place. UCLA broke through in the second with a 6-on-5 score and then took the lead a minute later. Isabel Zimmerman let loose a picture-perfect lob to snarl things up 2-2, and after UCLA crept ahead next it was Aznar again with a savvy strike that had the game knotted up 3-3 for halftime.

USC was playing catchup again in the third, with Morgan Netherton hammering home a 4-4 equalizer. With 2:36 on the clock, senior Abigail Hendrix sailed in a sweet shot to make it all even at 5-5. Another UCLA 6-on-5 saw the Bruins get another go-ahead goal, and then UCLA found another to move ahead 7-5. USC was robbed of a chance with a save off the goal line later in the third, and the Trojans were looking to make up ground in the fourth. Both teams locked down on defense, and no goals would come on either end as UCLA kept its undefeated record intact with the 7-5 final.

USC is the No. 4 seed for the coming MPSF Tournament, running April 26-28 in Bloomington, Ind. The Trojans will open up against No. 5 seed Arizona State at 3:30 p.m. ET on Friday (April 26).

– USC shut out UCLA in the first and fourth periods, marking the third time this season the Trojans have held a team scoreless in two periods of play.
– Before the game, USC honored its seven graduating seniors for Senior Day — Brooklyn AguileraAlejandra AznarMolly GladAbigail HendrixJulia JanovHannah Meyer and Carolyne Stern.
– With two goals today, Alejandra Aznar recorded her 14th multiple-goal game of the season — second most on the team.
– With her goal today, Morgan Netherton has scored in USC’s last five games.

#1 UCLA 7, #4 USC 5
April 20, 2024 | Uytengsu Aquatics Center (Los Angeles, Calif.)
USC    1 – 2 – 2 – 0 = 5
UCLA  0 – 3 – 4 – 0 = 7

USC — Alejandra Aznar 2, Isabel ZimmermanMorgan NethertonAbigail Hendrix.
UCLA — Panni Szegedi 3, Brooke Doten 2, Taylor Smith, Malia Allen.

SAVES: Carolyne Stern (USC) 6, Lauren Steele (UCLA) 12.

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