May 9, 2008

No. 2 USC Downs No. 10 Michigan 12-3 in Opening Round of 2008 NCAA Championship

PALO ALTO, Calif.  -- Driver Veronika Bartunkova (Sr., Stakonice, Czech Republic) and two-meter Sarah Van Norman (Fr., San Diego, Calif./Bishop's School) both recorded four goals to power No. 2-nationally ranked and Mountain Pacific Sports Federation runner-up the University of Southern California to a 12-3 win over No.-10 ranked and Collegiate Water Polo Association champion the University of Michigan in the first round of the 2008 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Women's Water Polo Championship hosted by Stanford University.

The Ladies of Troy opened up a 5-0 lead in the first period on a pair of goals by Bartunkova and solo markers by Miranda Nichols (Sr., Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Barbara), Van Norman and Alexandra Kiss (So., Budakalasz, Hungary/Kerek Gimnazium) as USC outshot Michigan 7-3, including a 6-0 advantage in shots-on-goal.

Nichols opened the scoring at the 6:21 mark before Kiss found the back of the cage at 5:27 to put USC in front 2-0. Bartunkova added the next two scores as she registered goals at 4:17 and 3:31 on an exclusion and even-strength, respectively, before Van Norman chipped in the first of her goals at the 50 seconds mark.

The University of Southern California added to the lead in the waning minutes of the second period as Bartunkova scored on an exclusion chance with 2:17 remaining in the first half and Van Norman tacked on her second goal with 54 seconds left to put the Ladies of Troy ahead 7-0 at intermission.

Overall, USC dominated in the first half out-shooting Michigan 12-8, including a 9-2 advantage in shots-on-goal, won both sprints and drew four ejections to the Wolverines three.

In goal, Tumua Anae (Jr., So., Newport Beach, Calif./Corona del Mar) blocked two shots in the first half, with both saves coming in the second period, for USC, while Brittany May (Jr., Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Barbara), who started the season at UC-Santa Barbara, made a pair of saves.

Following goals by Van Norman at 4:55 and 4:01 at even strength and on an exclusion, respectively, the Michigan offense began to chip away at USC's lead as Mary Chatigny (Jr., Palm Springs, Calif./Palm Springs) beat backup goalie Whitney Morgan (Jr., Sacramento, Calif./Rio Americano) with 2:16 left in the third period on an exclusion opportunity after USC's Michelle Stein (Jr., Palm Desert, Calif./Palm Desert) was ejected at the 2:35 mark. Down 9-1, Chatigny struck again with 19 seconds left in the period as she buried a shot at even-strength to pull the Wolverines to within 9-2 with a period of play remaining.

USC ended any hope of a Michigan comeback with three goals in the first 5:36 of the fourth period as Bartunkova scored on an exclusion at 7:10, Jordan Anae (Jr., Newport Beach, Calif./Corona del Mar) added an even-strength goal at 4:23 and Kiss tacked on an exclusion goal at 2:24 to put the Ladies of Troy in front 12-2.

Michigan driver Carrie Frost (Jr., Saline, Mich./Saline) sank the lead below 10 with one minute to play as she beat Morgan for the 12-3 final.

In cage, Morgan made eight saves in the second half for USC as the Ladies of Troy finished with 10 blocks for the game, while May recorded six stops.

For the game, USC held a narrow 21-20 lead in shots as Michigan outshot the Ladies of Troy 12-9 in the second half, including an 11-8 advantage in shots-on-goal.

A key to the game was ejections as USC cashed in on five of the seven they drew, while Michigan scored on one-of-five chances.

The loss snaps Michigan's program record 27-game win streak dating back to a 11-9 loss to San Diego State University on February 23 at the University of California-Irvine Anteater Invitational and drops the Wolverines to 1-5 all-time at the NCAA Championship. Further, the loss drops the Wolverines to 0-6 against USC as the Trojans last defeated Michigan 16-3 on February 12, 2006.

Michigan will continue the tournament at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 10 versus Marist College, a 12-1 loser to No. 3 Stanford Univeersity in the first round, as the Wolverines will continue play in the hopes of finishing fifth in the tournament, while USC will take on host Stanford University at 5:45 p.m. in the semfinals.

Coverage of all 12 games of the NCAA Championship is available at the NCAA Women's Water Polo Championship site.

 

Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th -- Final
University of Michigan 0 0 2 1 -- 3
University of Southern California 5 2 2 3 -- 12

USC Goals -- Veronika Bartunkova (4); Sarah Van Norman (4); Alexandra Kiss (2); Miranda Nichols; Jordan Anae

Michigan Goals -- Mary Chatigny (2); Carrie Frost

Saves: USC - Tumua Anae (2 / 0-2-X-X), Whitney Morgan (8 / X-X-3-5 ); Michigan - Brittany May (6 / 1-1-3-1)

Exclusions: USC - 5 (1-2-1-1) ; Michigan - 7 (2-2-1-2)

Shots: USC - 21 (7-5-6-3); Michigan - 20 (3-5-5-7)

Sprints: USC - 4 (1-1-1-1); Michigan - 0 (0-0-0-0)


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