For Jovan Vavic, the good times just keep on rolling. After coaching the men's water polo team to their fifth straight national championship, he's got the women's team undefeated at 14-0 and ranked #1 in the nation. What's more, his daughter, Monica, is by far the Women Of Troy's top scorer with 43 goals, and is among the top scorers in the entire nation.
At the start of the season, USC blazed through the preseason tournaments, the closest game being a 13-6 victory over Arizona State in the finals of the UCSD Triton Invitational. It wasn't until the semifinals of the team's final preseason tournament, the UCI Invitational, that the Women Of Troy ran into a serious challenge. Of course, it came from UCLA and Stanford. The game was neck-and-neck from start to finish, with USC never gaining more than a two goal lead.
In the final three minutes of the game, both offenses were slowed down by strong goalkeeping, but UCLA scored with 1:10 to go to tie the game at 10-10. Needing a last minute finish to prevent overtime or a comeback, USC's Kaleigh Gilchrist launched a shot with just two seconds left that found the back of the net, keeping their winning streak alive.
The next day, USC pulled off a stunning 13-10 upset of Stanford, who features three Olympic gold medalists and is predicted by many to defend their national title. The game was tied 8-8 in the third until USC scored three goals in a row from different players to get a lead they would never give up. Vavic spoke to NCAA.com this week about that game.
We did not play great. We gave up 10 goals so the defense was not good. Thankfully the offense was great as we had some nice shooting percentages in that game. We also have two Olympians and multiple Junior National team players who will be future Olympians. The ball is round and anytime we jump in the pool we believe that we have a chance to win.
If USC makes it to the championship game, it won't be surprising if they find the Farm waiting at the end of the road. Stanford defeated USC 6-4 in last year's final, and their strong two-meter shooting will put USC's defense to the test. Still, Vavic remains confident that his team will make a strong dark horse.
We have a good goalie, four to five two-meter defenders and three two-meter offensive players so we have the tools, we just need to peak at the right time. Nobody thought the Baltimore Ravens would win the Super Bowl, but they peaked at the right time and won it. Our players just need to believe in the system.
USC's next game is against #10 San Jose State on Friday at home. The top ten teams in the CWPA poll are:
3.) Arizona State
6.) UC Irvine
7.) San Diego State
9.) Long Beach State
10.) San Jose State