Coach Jovan Vavic, shown with the USC women's water polo team in January,… (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles…)
Third-seeded USC took a major step forward with a 12-10 victory over second-seeded UCLA in the NCAA women's water polo semifinals Saturday at San Diego.
The victory marks the Trojans' first win over the Bruins in an NCAA tournament.
In the final Sunday, USC (23-5) will take on top-seeded Stanford (25-2) at 5:15 p.m. at the Aztec Aquaplex. The Cardinal advanced Saturday with a 12-3 victory over fourth-seeded UC Irvine (25-7).
USC's victory against UCLA (22-4) was led by four goals each from Monica Vavic and Patricia Jancso. The Trojans held on after moving out to a 9-6 lead after the third period.
Colleen O'Donnell then stretched USC's lead to 10-6 with 6:50 to go, when her shot from deep found the back of the net at the top right corner. Sarah Orozco and Emily Greenwood each had hat tricks for the Bruins.
USC's Flora Bolonyai had nine saves, and UCLA's Caitlin Dement had seven.
Sunday's match will mark Stanford's eighth appearance in the NCAA title game. USC will be making its fourth appearance in an NCAA title match in five years. USC's three previous national championships came in 1999, 2004 and 2010.