#1 USC, #2 Stanford Survive Upset Bids, Advance to 2019 NCAA Women’s Water Polo Title Match

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USC's Amanda Longan was 2018 Player of the Year; she'll get a chance to prove it today against Stanford. Photo Courtesy: Catharyn Hayne

Editor’s Note: The 2019 NCAA Women’s Water Polo Tournament is happening this week—and Swimming World has you covered! Keep up with all the action online or look for #SwimmingWorld on Twitter and other social media platforms.

STANFORD, CA. In an exhilarating afternoon of women’s water polo, on Saturday the two semifinals for the 2019 NCAA Women’s Water Polo tournament were both decided in overtime, as top seeded USC and No. 2 seed Stanford survived spirited challenges to advance to today’s national championship match at 3 p.m. (PST) at Stanford’s Avery Aquatic Center.

The game will be live-streamed on NCAA.com; for more information please click here.

2019-ncaa-wwp-logo-apr19It’s the first time ever that the semis both came down to overtime, and it offered a arresting conclusion to a season that has been filled with surprises and drama.

In their 10-8 win over Cal, the Trojans were led by Paige Hauschild’s three goals while Amanda Longan contributed 11 saves. For Cal, Brigit Mulder chipped in two scores, and goalie Madison Tagg had a career-tying 18 saves in the loss.

“We continue to show this season that we’re a crowd-pleasing team, whether we’re down seven or a tie-game at half,” said Cal Head Coach Coralie Simmons, whose Golden Bears were that and more yesterday against the top-seeded Trojans. Her passion did cost her: a red card at the end of the match. But that “crowd-pleasing effort, coupled with a spectacular but ultimately unsuccessful comeback by UCLA against Stanford, made for a great day for polo.

[USC Beats Cal in Drama-Filled Semifinal, Advances to 2019 NCAA Women’s Water Polo Final]

May 11, 2019; Avery Aquatic Center, Palo Alto, CA, USA; Collegiate Women's Water Polo: NCAA Semi Finals: UCLA Bruins vs Stanford Cardinals; Stanford Driver Makenzie Fischer takes a 5 meter Photo credit: Catharyn Hayne

Stanford’s Makenzie Fischer; likely 2019 Player of the Year. Photo Courtesy: Catharyn Hayne

Stanford squandered all of an early five-goal lead before rallying to tie late in the game and then overcome UCLA in overtime by a score of 8-7. Aria Fischer led the way for the Cardinal with five goals, while Maddie Musselman and Alexis Liebowitz chipped in two apiece in a losing effort. Carlee Kapana registered 14 saves for the Bruins.

[Stanford Staves off UCLA in OT, Advances to 10th Straight NCAA Women’s Water Polo Final]

This will be the fourth meeting this season between #1 USC (28-1) and #2 Stanford (22-2). The Trojans hold a 2-1 lead in wins; their one loss this season—a 9-8 overtime setback on March 30 in Los Angeles—was avenged two weeks ago by a 9-8 OT win by USC over the Cardinal in the 2019 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title match at Avery.

The two best teams in the country, the Trojans and Cardinal know each other quite well; they met last year in the NCAA final, a 5-4 win for USC at Uytengsu Aquatics Center.

[Stanford vs. USC: Tale of the Water Polo Tape]