No. 5 USC Women’s Water Polo Takes Down No. 3 Fresno State 12-9

Courtesy: USC Athletics

NEWPORT BEACH, CALIF. — The No. 5 USC women’s water polo team avenged an earlier loss with a well-balanced performance to beat No. 3 Fresno State 12-9 in today’s fifth-place game at the Barbara Kalbus Invitational. Eight different Trojans scored in the win, led by hat tricks from Alejandra Aznar and Rachel Gazzaniga, while goalie Carolyne Stern hauled in 10 saves on the defensive end to help USC improve to 8-3 overall on the year.

Aznar had her hat trick in place by halftime to help USC lead it 7-6 at the break. The Trojans had trailed for a moment, down 4-3 on back-to-back Bulldog goals before Aznar’s second strike of the day knotted it at 4-4. Gazzaniga delivered her second to open the second for the go-ahead goal, and then Stern came up big in snuffing a series of Fresno State looks. Isabel Zimmerman and Aznar wrapped goals around a 6-on-5 finish by the Bulldogs, although Fresno State struck on a 5-meter penalty shot before halftime to make it that 7-6 margin.

Stern kept stepping up in the second half, making back-to-back blocks to help set up a USC offensive rally. Gazzaniga, Julia Janov and Ava Stryker punched up a 3-0 run for USC while the defense silenced Fresno State to claim a 10-6 lead entering the fourth. Fresno State found goals in the final frame, but USC clicked off scores from Hannah Meyer and Morgan Netherton to keep the Trojans in control for the 12-9 final.

USC’s next competition takes the Trojans to the Convergence Tournament in Claremont, Calif., where they’ll face Villanova and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Friday (March 1) before taking on Pomona-Pitzer and Pacific on Saturday (March 1).

– With 10 saves today, USC SR goalie Carolyne Stern has recorded four double-digit save outings this season.
– With three more goals today, FR Rachel Gazzaniga leads USC in having scored in 10 games this season
– Gazzaniga also now leads USC in scoring with 22 goals this season.
– With a goal today, FR Ava Stryker has scored at least a goal in USC’s last five games.
– USC’s Gazzaniga, Stryker and SR Julia Janov each scored a team-high eight goals at this year’s Barbara Kalbus Invitational.


#5 USC 12, #3 Fresno State 9
Feb. 25, 2024 | Corona del Mar HS (Newport Beach, Calif.)
USC   4 – 3 – 3 – 2 = 12
FST   4 – 2 – 0 – 3 = 9

USC — Alejandra Aznar 3, Rachel Gazzaniga 3, Morgan NethertonAva StrykerIsabel ZimmermanJulia JanovHannah MeyerAbigail Hendrix.
FST — Hailey Andress 3, Abbey Simshauser 2, Ashley Williams 2, Cynthia Rosa, Robyn Greenslade.

SAVES: Carolyne Stern (USC) 10, Paula Nieto Jasny (FST) 8.

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