No. 15 Water Polo Falls on the Road at No. 2 USC
Feb. 3, 2017
LOS ANGELES - No. 15 San Diego State continued its three-game road trip to start the season on Friday and dropped a 23-6 decision at second-ranked USC. The loss put the Aztecs’ record at 1-2 on the year, while the Women of Troy improved to 8-0.
USC dented the scoreboard first and the Aztecs were up to the challenge as Caroline Israels leveled the score 47 seconds into the game. The hosts, however, found their rhythm and notched the next five goals to move ahead, 6-1. Israels found the back of the net with just under a minute to play, but USC got the goal back with power-play strike just ahead of the first-quarter horn.
The next period started just like the first, with USC recording the first goal and the Aztecs answering with a score of their own. This time, Ioli Benekou provided the goal, helping SDSU get within five goals at 8-3. The Women of Troy responded with a 3-0 run before Israels scored again, making it 11-4 in favor of the defending national champions. USC added four more goals in the final four minutes to take a 15-4 lead into the mid-game break.
In the third quarter, San Diego State held the Women of Troy to its lowest quarter output of the game, limiting them to just three goals. But as tough as the SDSU defense was, USC’s was a touch better as it kept the Aztecs off the scoreboard.
The Women of Troy opened the final eight minutes with another goal and two-and-a-half minutes into the frame, Shelby Kraft ended the Aztecs’ drought by putting her shot past goalkeeper Victoria Chamorro. USC surrounded an Israels goal with two goals on each side to provide the final margin.
Israels led the team with a season-high four goals, with Benekou and Kraft each contributing one goal. Israels has a team-best six goals in 2016 and Benekou has scored one goal in each of the team’s three games this season. The Kraft goal, meanwhile, was the first of her career.
Kate McDonnell started in net for San Diego State and made two saves in 16 minutes. The junior gave way in the third quarter to Maura Cantoni, who also made two stops. Emily Lowell received the nod at the start of the fourth period and recorded two saves as well.
San Diego State, which has won three straight Golden Coast Conference regular-season titles, returns to action next Friday, Feb. 10, when it plays host to its home and GCC opener vs. Santa Clara. First sprint at Aztec Aquaplex is at 3 p.m. PT and admission is free.
No. 2 USC 23, No. 15 San Diego State 6
SDSU goals: Israels 4, Benekou 1, Kraft 1
SDSU saves: McDonnell 2 (1st half), Cantoni 2 (3rd quarter), Lowell 2 (4th quarter)