Jordan Raney and Gurpreet Sohi each scored twice but top-ranked USC poured in five fourth-quarter goals to beat the third-ranked Stanford women's water polo team, 8-5, Sunday and claim the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament championship.
Stanford will find out its seed for the NCAA championships at UCLA in two weeks. USC receives the conference's automatic bid to the field.
Sohi put Stanford two goals clear at 4:15 when she worked her way in front of the cage. Despite mishandling her first attempt with her right, Sohi continued to work and used a wrist flick with her left to sail the ball up and over USC's Amanda Longan.
The Trojans tallied their first with a 6-on-5 goal late in the quarter (1:04). Neither team scored in the second and Stanford led 2-1 at halftime.
USC evened it up right out of the gate in the third quarter when Brianna Daboub scored the first of her three goals off an assist from Stephania Haralabidis at 7:28.
Raney responded for Stanford on the very next possession, taking a feed from Cassidy Papa after some nifty passing in the 6-on-5 to push Stanford ahead, 3-2.
Avery Peterson equalized for USC with 4:52 on the clock. Sohi nearly broke the tie as the buzzer sounded to end the third trying a skip near side that was stopped by Longan.
Raney scored to put Stanford up 4-3 when she was left alone up top early in the final frame (6:58), beating Longan to the keeper's right, but that would be the Cardinal's last lead.
USC scored four unanswered over the next three minutes to grab a 7-4 advantage with 3:30 to play. Raney set up Kat Klass with 1:07 left to make the score 7-5, but that's be as close as Stanford would get. Ioanna Haralabidis put home another insurance goal with 18 seconds remaining for the Trojans.
Raney had a solid tournament, tying Sohi for fourth in goals scored (4) and finishing tied for third in assists (3). Cassidy Papa also had three assists in three games for the Cardinal, while Julia Hermann's 30 saves were tops at the event and her .638 save percentage was third.
Defense proved paramount in a game that tied the MPSF's all-time low in goals scored in a championship game Sunday afternoon as USC topped Stanford, 8-5, to claim its first Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title.
Stanford goalie Allie DaCar, an all-tournament pick, recorded six saves in the first half alone as the Trojans stormed through the gate to score three unanswered goals in the first 13 minutes, with two coming off of free position opportunities.
Anna Salemo and Dillon Schoen went back-to-back to cut the lead to 3-2 before a trade-off of goals sent the teams into the break with USC up 5-3. Salemo led the field with two goals, though USC, the nation's best defense, stymied the Cardinal attack to take the lead into the half.
In the second half, Menlo School grad Michaela Michael struck with her 62nd goal of the season less than two minutes in to help USC take a 6-3. Laura Klein responded to keep Stanford in it.
DaCar was on fire again in the half, turning away eight of USC's 12 shots as the Cardinal offense went silent, putting up only four shots in the half.
The Women of Troy put the nail in the coffin with just under three minutes remaining with back-to-back goals to make it 8-4. Playing a solid game defensively for USC was Palo Alto High grad Nina Kelty.
Dillon Schoen took the reigns in the following 20 seconds, charging down the field to set up Alex Poplawski for the final score.
A rough first inning was too much to overcome and Stanford fell in the rubber match of its Pac-12 Conference series with No. 10 Oregon State, 11-4, at Goss Stadium on Sunday.
One day after the Cardinal scored three in the first and never looked back, Oregon State did so with a five-spot in its first at-bat of the series finale. Stanford (20-18, 8-10 Pac-12) answered back with three in the fifth, but the hosts held off a Cardinal comeback.
Stanford held the Beavers to seven hits in a shut out on Saturday, but the hosts nearly matched that total with six hits in the first frame. A triple, single and two-run home run by K.J. Harrison made it 3-0. The Beavers then used three more singles and a walk to add on two more for a 5-0 advantage.
Junior Tyler Thorne pitched 2.2 scoreless innings in relief, and junior Chris Viall added another to keep Stanford within five heading to the fifth.
That's when the Cardinal cut the deficit to 5-3. The bases were loaded on an error and two walks. Junior Jack Klein drew a walk to score Stanford's first run, and sophomore Matt Winaker extended his hitting streak to eight games with a two-out, two-RBI single into right.
Viall tacked on another scoreless frame in the bottom of the inning, but surrendered a pair in the sixth as the Beavers extended their lead to 7-3.
The Cardinal got one back when juniors Tommy Edman and Alex Dunlap put together back-to-back two-out hits in the eighth. Edman singled and then scored when Dunlap roped a double down the left field line.