Stanford vs. USC: Tale of the Water Polo Tape

USC's Casey Moon and Stanford's John Tanner will be matching wits tomorrow in LA. Photos Courtesy USC / Stanford Athletics

LOS ANGELES, CA. “Game of the Century” is a trope WAY over-used; we should at least get close to the END of a century before invoking such hyperbolic terms. BUT, tomorrow’s women’s water polo match between #1 USC (20-0) and #2 (14-1; 2-0 MPSF) Stanford can lay claim to being as notable a women’s polo match as there’s been for a while—or at least since the two tussled in USC’s Uytengsu Aquatics Center almost a year ago, when the Trojans bested the Cardinal in an epic NCAA Women’s Championship final.

Since USC Head Coach Jovan Vavic was fired, everything around the Trojans appears different—but it’s not, because only the coach has changed; Casey Moon, Vavic assistant the last 11 years, is now in charge. For many, Vavic was USC polo; he’s the architect of six women’s national titles and the tremendous collection of polo talent that resides in downtown Los Angeles.

[Commentary: The Rise and Scandalous Fall Of USC Water Polo Coach Jovan Vavic]

But Stanford’s John Tanner’s no slouch, and neither are his Cardinal. He too has six titles, and the his squad is also super talented—and now they’ve probably got more than revenge in mind (though that’s a good one; USC has won the last three contest, including the 2019 Barbara Kalbus final last February). With USC riding a 36-match win streak, there’s no doubt that their coach will remind the Cardinal that they snapped 52-match win streak in 2017 when they stormed into Troy and captured a 12-8 victory.


Expect to see this A LOT at Uytengsu tomorrow. Photo Courtesy: Catharine Hayne Photography

No matter what the score, it’s always a great match when these two are involved—and the Uytengsu bleachers will be bespeckled with lots of cardinal and gold and white.



Mascots Tommy the Trojan Stanford Tree
Coaches: Casey Moon (2-0; 1.000 winning %) John Tanner (536-78; .873 winning %)
NCAA Titles Six; last won in 2018 Six; last won in 2017
Olympians on roster None (but Paige Hauschild will make it for USA as will Maud Megens for Holland) Two: Aria and Makenzie Fischer for USA
Cutino Winners One: Amanda Longan
2018 National Player of the Year
None (but it’s looking good for Mackenzie in 2019)
Head-to-Head Record 36-35 35-36 (only team Stanford has losing record against)
Biggest Rival UCLA (no one else comes close) Cal (and Harvard… not really!)
Top Newcomers Alejandra Aznar and Grace Tehaney Ryann Neuschul and Madison Stamen
Super Seniors Longan and Courtney Fahey Madison Berggren and Mackenzie Wiley
Fight Song Tribute to Troy – Fight On! Come Join the Band
Famous Alum Will Ferrell, Neil Armstrong
(yeah, the astronaut)
Doug Mackenzie (venture capitalist), Tiger Woods
Famous for? George Lucas made THX 1138 there Google; band’s kinda wacky
Why we care It’s USC dammit and they have cheerleaders! Some of the smartest people in the world… and it’s not Harvard
Why they should win Great collection of talent and they’ve beaten Stanford the last three times Does Tanner lose five-straight to anyone? USC will wish Jovan was there

-Opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.