And Then There Were Two: Stanford, USC To Meet Sunday for 2018 NCAA Women’s Water Polo Title

Stanford's Jordan Raney. Photo Courtesy: Catharyn Hayne

LOS ANGELES, CA. In a finish to the 2018 season that might easily have been scripted, top seed USC (25-1) and No. 2 Stanford (20-3) will meet later today for the national championship. By virtue of a hard-fought 11-7 semifinal win over #3 Cal, the Cardinals—defending champions—will be making their ninth straight appearance in the NCAA title match. A win would give Head Coach John Tanner’s team seven championships, tying Stanford with UCLA for the most in NCAA women’s water polo history.

“This is a group of incredibly responsible, determined, competitive women and they have prepared themselves for just those kinds of moments,” Tanner said. “They’ve risen to those challenges throughout their careers.”

Longan_MAY18

USC Amanda Longan. Photo Courtesy: Catharyn Hayne

The Trojans are seeking their fifth crown, all under the guidance of Head Coach Jovan Vavic, who originated the program in 1995 and has led USC to an impressive 570 victories. That the program’s 11th appearance in the NCAA’s ultimate match came via a dominant 10-6 semifinal win over arch-rival UCLA will prove a measure of satisfaction to Trojan faithful.

However, nothing short of a national championship will satisfy Vavic and his players, who are on a 15-match winning streak, which includes a dramatic 13-12 overtime win over Stanford two weeks ago in the championship final of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF).

“They have a great desire to make the finals and they want it badly,” Vavic said after the game. “You have to have that unity, desire and togetherness. And we have that.”

The match, at 3 p.m. today (PST) at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center, will be broadcast live on NCAA.com.

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Author: Michael Randazzo

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Michael Randazzo is a freelance contributor at Swimming World focusing on water polo. He covers polo all over the United States for SW and other publications, including the Collegiate Water Polo Association, Skip Shot, The New York Times, Total Water Polo, Water Polo Planet and others. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children and roots for St. Francis Brooklyn polo.

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