USC women’s water polo thrashes no. 15 Indiana – Annenberg Media

The No. 3 USC women’s water polo team defeated the No. 15 Indiana Hoosiers 16-3 at Uytengsu Aquatics Center on Saturday. The Trojans showcased their dominance from the opening whistle, forcing the worst offensive game of the season from the Hoosiers and their most lopsided loss to date.

The Trojans’ defense was physicality personified, constantly pressing the Hoosiers and making them uncomfortable throughout the game. The Hoosiers struggled to find quality shots and repeatedly found themselves up against the shot clock or having to force a tough shot because their offense found no openings against the Trojan defense.

The Hoosiers took 24 shots in the game and only three of them found twine for an abysmal 13%.

“Defense is something we’ve always emphasized, but especially these last two weeks it’s something we’ve worked on a lot,” junior driver Paige Hauschild said. “Throwing other teams off their game, getting in their face right away is something that’s super helpful to us.”

The Hoosiers were surely off their game – the first Indiana goal came almost four minutes into the first quarter, which was made all the worse by the fact the Trojans had already scored four goals. Senior utility player Bayley Weber was two-thirds of the way to a hat trick before Indiana had mustered a single goal.

After the Hoosiers goal at the 6:03 mark of the second quarter left them trailing 7-2, they would go scoreless until a garbage-time goal with three minutes remaining in the fourth.

USC’s goalies, juniors Carolyne Stern and Erin Tharp, were exceptional in the match, blocking three penalty shots and making great saves to keep Indiana off the board on the rare occurrence they beat their defenders.

“Both of our goalies played phenomenally today and were there to cover us up every time we made defensive mistakes,” Hauschild said. “Their goalie play today was huge for us.”

The Hoosiers could not find the back of the net even in advantageous situations, going 0-of-7 on power plays and a dismal 0-for-3 on penalty shots.

“I think our overall press, ability to press Indiana longer, allowed us to make smarter decisions on defense,” head coach Marko Pintaric said. “Really committing to our defensive tactics on 5-on-6 as well as help.”

USC’s commitment to defense was a huge boon to their offense as well.

USC’s offense torched the Hoosiers in transition, scoring several goals early in the shot clock by taking advantage of the defense before they could be properly set.

“We really emphasized [the] fast break, so just pushing our counterattack, ”Hauschild said“ We were pretty solid defensively, and so that was fueling our transition into offense. ”

On offense, the Trojans were led by Hauschild, Weber and senior driver Grace Tehaney. The three players accounted for 12 of the Trojans’ 16 goals, and each had a hat trick.

The Trojans’ offense was in a groove from the onset of the game, scoring more points in the first quarter than the Hoosiers had all the game and not letting up until the final whistle.

Following their dominant performance, the Trojans look to continue their winning ways when they embark on a four-game road trip that prefaces another showdown with crosstown rival UCLA in mid-April.

The Trojans’ next game will be against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors on Friday.

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