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USC Women's Water Polo Holding On For Postseason Dear Life

The Defending National Champs lost control of their postseason destiny.

After dropping two games down the stretch of the regular season to fall as the No. 3 seed in the MPSF Tournament, the Women of Troy were upset by Arizona State in sudden-death overtime, 10-9, at Uytengsu Aquatics Center.

This shocking blow could actually leave USC outside looking in for the NCAA Tournament, which will take place at the home Uytengsu Aquatics Center. The Women of Troy need to defeat Cal State Bakersfield today in the consolation bracket setting up a 5th place match up on Sunday as these games are vital for USC's postseason resume.


Taking an early 3-1 lead in the first quarter, the Trojans found themselves playing catchup once the Sun Devils countered with a four-goal run to take a 5-3 advantage during the second half. USC would pull even at 5-5, but still was faced with a come-from-behind situations the rest of the way. The Trojans equalized at 7-7 and then defied the odds with another equalizer from Kaleigh Gilchrist with just two seconds left, forcing overtime tied at 8.

ASU came out firing the go-ahead goal in the first OT. In the second, Eike Daube rocketed one in to make it 9-9, and the score would hold to bring up sudden death. Defense stiffened on both ends in that frame, but that's when ASU was able to snatch a loose ball and fire it up the pool for an easy goal as Flora Bolonyai was forced out of position to defend her post.


Besides being the defending national champions, USC posted a 20-game winning streak this season and went on an equally impressive run to finish out last season as the 2013 National Champions. The Women of Troy are led by USC's all-time save leader Flora Bolonyai in net, who mentioned the defensive-minded play in this tournament.

The NCAA could certainly take three MPSF teams to the tournament (Stanford, UCLA and possibly USC) but the Women of Troy need some breaks to fall their way to remain inside the nation's top five teams. USC does post some impressive wins over top-seven teams UC Irvine, UCLA, Cal and two wins over ASU during the regular season.

In terms of the national rankings, Stanford and UCLA have now clinched automatic berths (assuming nothing crazy happens) and Princeton will qualify as well from the Ivy League. Since eight teams are eligible to qualify for the tournament, ASU now seems in and the Women of Troy will fight with Cal and UC Irvine for the final bid.