No. 3 ranked USC women's water polo will look to defend its national championship crown over the weekend against competition hungry to take back the crown. After starting the season on an impressive 20-game winning streak, the Women of Troy have struggled down the stretch, but have a unique opportunity to hit the "refresh button" during the all-important NCAA Tournament.
USC has won four national championships in program history, with the first coming in 1999 when women's water polo was not an officially sponsored NCAA event. Back in 2004, the Trojans posted the first-ever undefeated season on the way to capturing the NCAA title and USC's third title came in 2010 in a championship win over Stanford.
Last year the Trojans topped Stanford in triple sudden-death overtime, the longest game NCAA final in history, to claim a fourth national championship for USC. If the Women of Troy want to repeat as champions and defend their home court, they will have to face off some tough tests against UC Irvine Friday and then possibly UCLA on Saturday.
PLAYING FOR SOME RINGS
2013 Women's National Champions! Natty Ring! FightOn✌️ pic.twitter.com/FnOkSmDYsQ— USC Water Polo (@USCWaterPolo) May 4, 2014
Junior Monica Vavic currently holds 183 career goals to have cracked the all-time top-10. With four goals vs. Bakersfield on March 7, she took over the No. 8 spot previously held by two-time Olympian Kami Craig. With 140 career goals, senior Kaleigh Gilchrist ranks No. 12 all-time, passing two-time Olympian Lauren Wenger in the ranks.
USC's first match will begin on Friday afternoon against UC Irvine starting at 1:45 PM PST. Important to note that all the NCAA Tournament action takes place at the friendly confines of the Uytengsu Aquatics Center and can be seen through a live stream on ncaa.com and can be followed directly through @USCWaterPolo