Sports

Cardinal women pull water polo upset over top-ranked USC

 

Cory Dodson and Maggie Steffens each scored twice as the third-ranked Stanford women's water polo team downed visiting top-ranked USC, 9-5, in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match Sunday.

The Cardinal (2-0, 16-1) scored six straight goals, covering both halves, to turn a 3-2 deficit into 8-3 advantage en route to ending the Trojan's 27-match winning streak.

Stanford lost to USC, 10-9, in three overtimes of last year's NCAA championship game.

Dodson tied the score at 3 with her first goal and then ended the scoring streak with her second goal, the latter a breakaway.

Goalie Gabby Stone, who made a career-high 17 saves, fed Kiley Neushul on the fast break, and, with Dodson and Ashley Grossman with her, Neushul swam in, whipped a pass across her body to Dodson, who coolly finished into the far corner past USC goalie Flora Bolonyai.

The goal capped a run that continued with Anna Yelizarova's go-ahead penalty shot 45 seconds prior to halftime.

The Cardinal got a stop defensively and took possession with 12 seconds remaining in the half. Kelsey Suggs moved the ball past half-tank and passed to Annika Dries, whose shot from deep on the left wing got off just before the buzzer and beat Bolonyai into the far upper-90 to give the Cardinal a 5-3 lead at the break and put momentum firmly on Stanford's side.

It took 50 seconds for the Cardinal to extend its lead to three in the second half, as freshman Dani Jackovich outmuscled two Trojan defenders in front of the goal and pushed a goal through, forcing a USC timeout.

Kaley Dodson fired home to the near post two minutes later before younger sister Cory's goal which made the advantage five.

While the offense deserved its plaudits, it was the Cardinal defense which really carried the day by limiting the MPSF's most proficient offense to a season-low five goals.

The Trojans entered the game averaging 15.9 goals a game, but could find few answers against the determined Cardinal.

Stanford took an early, 2-0, lead in the contest behind first-period goals from Jamie Neushul and Steffens, but USC used a 3-0 run to take a one-goal lead at the 3:03 mark of the second frame.

— Stanford Athletics

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