USC overwhelms Wahine in MPSF water polo
By Ann Miller
Advertiser Staff Writer
Rain intermittently soaked the first day of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Women's Water Polo Championships, and wind brought whitecaps to the chlorinated water. Nothing, including the elements, bothered the top-ranked teams.
Sixth-seeded University of Hawai'i (21-8) lost the day's final match, 12-1, to third-seeded USC (27-3), which has won its past 17. Rebecca Angus's goal with 1:27 remaining averted the first shutout in the Wahine's four-year history.
The Trojans are coached by Jovan Vavic of Yugoslavia. He has taken them to a national championship and runnerup finish the past two years. His five top scorers this season are foreign, including returning All-Americans Aniko Pelle (Hungary) and Nina Wengst (Germany). Sofia Konoukh is one of six Olympians in this tournament; she played on Russia's bronze-medal team in Sydney.
All three scored as USC took an 8-0 halftime edge against Hawai'i, with Konoukh going for three goals. The Wahine took just one fewer shot in the half (13) but never came close to scoring as Vavic began to substitute six at a time.
The Wahine's next match is today at 2 p.m. against seventh-seeded UC-Santa Barbara.
Earlier in the day, the Wahine advanced to the quarterfinals with their eighth consecutive victory, 10-5 over 11th-seeded Pacific (6-20).
The match had a nightmarish beginning for Hawai'i, which hammered the Tigers, 11-1, a week ago. Yesterday, UOP scored twice in the first six minutes and the Wahine fumbled away their first six possessions to fall into a two-goal hole.
They would score the next five, and close with an optimistic look into the future.
Freshman Karin van Hoff got Hawai'i on the board with :57 left in the first period. Angus' penalty shot 30 seconds later tied it.
The Wahine dominated the second quarter, getting goals from Eko Lapp, Joanne Ansell and from far outside Amy Morrow. They pushed their three-goal halftime advantage to 7-3 after three quarters, as Angus and Ansell got their second goals Ansell's after van Hoff stole the ball and pushed it down the middle of the pool.
UH coach Shari Smart started freshmen Ansell, Traci Trochinski, Erin Kocher, Jennifer Hodge and Chelsea Garner-Prohs, and reserve/transfer Jenai Haley in the fourth quarter, and was thankful she stayed with them.
"They are good players. In fact, in our intra-squad scrimmages the last week, they have been beating the first team," Smart said. "They are also very quick Traci, Erin, Jen and Chelsea, in particular and the game was getting a little sluggish. I thought, put in the speed."
UOP scored twice, to cut its deficit to 7-5, before the Wahine of the future found their rhythm.
Ansell hit a fade-away from two meters to give UH a cushion with 2:10 remaining. In the final minute, Hodge found Kocher free twice with brilliant cross-pool passes. Kocher scored off the first pass and slapped to ball to Trochinski for a goal on the second.
SPLASH AND DASH: The championship will be played at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow. ... The Wahine leave Wednesday night to play in the National Collegiate Invitational, next Friday-Sunday at University of the Pacific. ... Honolulu's Maureen Flanagan, a sophomore at UCLA, scored five goals in the Bruins' victory. UCLA is defending national champion.
Mountain Pacific Sports Federation
Women's Water Polo Championships
No. 8 San Diego St.7, No. 9 Long Beach St. 6
No. 7 UC-Santa Barbara 6, No. 10 UC-Irvine 1
No. 6 HAWAI'I 10, No. 11 Pacific 5
No. 4 California 8, No. 5 San Jose State 4
No. 1 Stanford 11, SDSU 3
No. 2 UCLA 17, UCSB 3
No. 3 Southern California 12, HAWAI'I 1
11 a.m.UC-Irvine vs. Pacific
12:30 p.m.SJSU vs. SDSU
2HAWAI'I vs. UCSB
5UCLA vs. USC
6:30Cal vs. Stanford
11 a.m.Ninth place
12:30 p.m.Seventh place