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Top-ranked USC Plays UCLA in NCAA Water Polo Semifinal

May 08, 1999|SCOTT MOE

The NCAA women's water polo championships are only a day old, but one thing is already certain: USC or UCLA will play for the national title.

Both teams went 2-0 in Friday's first two rounds at UC Davis, and will play each other in one of today's semifinals at 5:15.

Top-ranked USC (28-2) had little trouble in its first match against 16th-seeded Indiana as 10 players scored en route to a 17-2 blowout.

But in the second round, the Trojans were behind UC Santa Barbara, 2-1, after the first period. USC scored the next three goals to take control of the match and won, 6-3. Freshman driver Christine Zador scored the go-ahead goal on a penalty shot.

USC goalie Bernice Orwig made seven saves.

"Our games with UC Santa Barbara are always close," USC Coach Jovan Vavic said. "There were early opportunities that we didn't convert."

Santa Barbara (16-16) will play Hawaii (24-14) today at 2:45, the winner advancing to Sunday's fifth-place game.

UCLA (23-9) trounced Maryland, 12-2, in its opener then blew out Hawaii (24-14) in the second round, 7-1.

Bruin freshman Elaine Zivich, who scored three goals against Maryland (22-10), scored only once against Hawaii.

But six teammates chipped in with goals in the victory.

The Bruins, the three-time defending national champions, play a Trojan team that they have yet to defeat this year.

The Bruins were 10-0 against USC before 1999. This season, they are 0-5. California, which defeated the Trojans twice, is the only team to beat USC this year.

California (28-5) faces rival Stanford (24-5) in the other semifinal.

Long Beach State (15-21) rebounded from a first-round loss to San Diego State to defeat Princeton, 9-8. The 49ers face Massachusetts (30-7), with a trip to the ninth place game on the line.

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