TEMPE, ARIZ. — The top-seeded USC women’s water polo team brought big bookends in today’s MPSF semifinal bout with host Arizona State, firing off five goals in the first frame and then hitting the gas with six more in the fourth to stake a claim on a 16-8 win that pushes the Trojans to tomorrow’s title match. Now 18-1 overall, top-ranked USC is looking for a third consecutive MPSF Tournament title, with the Trojans facing No. 3 seed Stanford in the championship match tomorrow (May 2) at 2 p.m. at Mona Plummer Aquatic Center in Tempe, Ariz.
To set themselves up for that shot at a seventh MPSF tournament crown, USC had to get past the home team today. The Trojans were all business right out of the gates against the upset-minded No. 5 seed Arizona State, though, plugging in three goals in three minutes and then climbing ahead 4-0 before the Sun Devils broke through on a power play. USC’s fifth scorer of the frame was Kelsey McIntosh, whose toss made it 5-1 Trojans by the end of the first. Both teams’ offenses would click in the second, with no exclusions called but plenty of firepower on each end. USC’s Bayley Weber rattled off three of USC’s four goals in the second period, while Maud Megens delivered her second off a Weber feed. ASU manufactured three goals in that span, making it 9-4 USC by halftime.
The scoring pace slowed for the Trojans in the third, with Denise Mammolito’s searing skipper to go up 10-4 answered by back-to-back Sun Devil strikes while USC’s offense struck out the rest of the way. Up 10-6 entering the fourth, USC’s hot hands warmed right back up, with McIntosh lighting the spark. Grace Tehaney, Mammolito and Mireia Guiral would make it a 4-0 USC surge to take full control of the semifinal, up 14-6 midway through the frame. In the final stretch, senior Randi Reinhardt would register her first goal of the year with a sneaky bar-in, and Sabrina Garabet rounded out USC’s scoring as the Trojans’ ninth scorer on the day to wrap up a 16-8 victory for the Trojans.
2021 MPSF TOURNAMENT
 USC 16,  Arizona State 8
May 1, 2021 | Mona Plummer Aquatic Center (Tempe, Ariz.)