No. 4 USC Women’s Water Polo Picks Up Another Pair Of Wins At Convergence

Courtesy: USC Athletics

CLAREMONT, CALIF. — The No. 4 USC women’s water polo team stormed the Convergence Tournament, sweeping through its competition in capping off the event with two more wins today — an 11-3 win over host Pomona-Pitzer and a 13-8 victory over No. 17 Pacific. The Trojans improve to 12-3 overall on the year with its victorious run at the two-day event in Claremont.

In a rainy midday matchup against host Pomona-Pitzer, USC pinned up the first seven goals of the game while shutting out the Sagehens in the first half. Rachel Gazzaniga struck twice in that 7-0 rally on her way to a hat trick in the game. Goalie Carolyne Stern made a strong stand in the cage with eight saves to back up a stingy Trojan defense. The capper in the 11-3 win came from the hands of Jelena Sarac, who tallied her first goal as a Trojan to wrap the scoring in that first game of the day.

About an hour later, USC got back down to business with a face-off against No. 17 Pacific. Isabel Zimmerman sizzled in USC’s opening goal there, and again USC would never trail in a decisive and well-balanced win. USC led it 9-4 at halftime thanks to goals from eight different Trojans. Gazzaniga had another multi-goal game in the books with her two first-half scores, and Stern wrapped the half with back-to-back blocks between the pipes. A ripping backhand from Alex Bonaguidi registered her second of the day and a 12-5 USC lead to end the third. Alejandra Aznar delivered her second early in the fourth to make it 13-5, and the Tigers carved down the deficit by the final buzzer to make it a 13-8 decision in the end.

USC is finally back in home waters next week for its first home game of the season, hosting St. Francis in a televised matchup at 2 p.m. on Saturday (March 9). The Trojans will follow that clash with an exhibition game against the U.S. Youth National Team.

– In shutting out Pomona-Pitzer in the first half today, USC has rendered opponents scoreless in 10 periods this season.
– RS FR Jelena Sarac scored her first career goal today.
– With five goals scored today, Gazzaniga now leads USC in scoring with 30 goals this season, followed by SR Alejandra Aznar with 29.
– With goals in both games today, SR Julia Janov, FR Ava Stryker and FR Rachel Gazzaniga have now each scored in a team-high 13 games this season.
– Stryker has now scored at least one goal in USC’s last nine games.

#4 USC 11, Pomona-Pitzer 3
March 2, 2024 | Axelrood Pool (Claremont, Calif.)
USC    2 – 3 – 4 – 2 = 11
P-P     0 – 0 – 1 – 2 = 3
USC — Rachel Gazzaniga 3, Alejandra Aznar 2, Ava StrykerMaggie JohnsonJulia JanovAbigail HendrixJelena SaracMeghan McAninch.
P-P — Mia Amberger, Lauren Smith, Lulu Gaither.
SAVES: Carolyne Stern (USC) 8, Zosia Amberger (P-P) 9, Thea Pine (P-P) 0.

#4 USC 13, #17 Pacific 8
March 12 2024 | Axelrood Pool (Claremont, Calif.)
USC    5 – 4 – 3 – 1 = 13
PAC    3 – 1 – 1 – 3 = 8
USC — Alejandra Aznar 2, Abigail Hendrix 2, Rachel Gazzaniga 2, Alex Bonaguidi 2, Ava StrykerIsabel ZimmermanJulia JanovBrooklyn AguileraMeghan McAninch.
PAC — Dora Alaska 5, Hila Futorian 2, Addison McGowan.
SAVES: Carolyne Stern (USC) 8, Maja Lizy Dulic (PAC) 10.

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