Well, the moment's finally here, as the No. 2 seed USC women's water polo team will take on No. 1 seed Stanford for the NCAA championship this evening at 5:00 PM PST in San Diego with CSTV televising the contest. Even with their impressive 24-3 overall record, however, the Women of Troy have already lost twice this season to Stanford - both games taking in Palo Alto. Combining their struggles against Stanford and their inability to take home the NCAA title in recent years, many have questioned this team's ability to finally get over the hump. Yet, this current group of players doesn't see it that way. From Pedro Moura of ESPNLosAngeles.com:
Led by longtime men's and women's coach Jovan Vavic, USC has made its way to the championship match three of the last four seasons, only to come up empty each time. So, if the past is any indication - well, the Women of Troy argue that past is no indication.
They say they're a different team in 2010 than in 2009 and 2008 and 2006. Judging from the words of [senior two-meter Kami] Craig, they might be right.
"We play for each other," says Craig, who joined the team in 2006 but sat out the 2008 season to compete in the Olympics, where she won a silver medal for the United States. "We're a solid unit as a team and we fight together as a team for the same goal. We have a tight unit here and if we stay as powerful and energetic as we have this season, then we'll be successful throughout this tournament."
There is no question that this is a capable unit. Aside from their three losses, two to Stanford and one to UCLA, the Women of Troy have been nearly invincible in every contest, winning most of their games by double-digit margins. Surely, however, that isn't going to happen today against a vary potent Stanford team that has had USC's number in recent years. But don't forget that these Trojans have a senior class with a chip on its shoulder. This collection of seniors, despite a remarkable record of success in terms of individual accolades and conference titles, has not captured that ever-elusive NCAA championship. Could that change today? Quite possibly. For the sake of this bunch, let's hope they can get it done.
If you're watching the game, feel free to post your thoughts below.