USC women's water polo beat Stanford on Sunday, 10-9, in a dramatic title game to capture the NCAA championship — the Women of Troy's first title after losing in the final three of the last four years.
USC's last NCAA title came in 2004. Three players — Kristen Dronberger, Patricia Jancso and Kally Lucas — scored two goals apiece for USC in Sunday's victory, and four other players notched a goal. The Women of Troy led 10-6 with four minutes to play but were forced to withstand a frantic comeback from the Cardinal in the match's final minute.
When the clock ran out, USC coach Jovan Vavic jumped into the pool with his players and celebrated wildly. In his 15th year with the program, Vavic had come up empty in recent years — much to his chagrin.
"I swear, I was as excited for this finish and for this championship as I was for the first one," Vavic said in his postgame press conference. "It just doesn't get old. In some ways, I was even more excited for this, because we waited for this for so long."
No.1-seeded Stanford and USC had matched up three times this season prior to Sunday's final, with the Cardinal winning twice. Earlier this week, USC seniors Tumua Anae and Kami Craig talked passionately about the need for this senior class of the Women of Troy to win a national title after coming so close each of the last four years.
Well, they did. And for the third time in his 16 seasons at USC, Vavic has won both the men's and women's titles in the same school year.