Hawaii takes on Stanford for third


POSTED: Sunday, May 10, 2009

For the third time in five years, the Hawaii women's water polo team will be playing for third place in the NCAA championship tournament.

The Rainbow Wahine were swamped yesterday by top-ranked USC 17-5 in a semifinal at Eppley Recreation Center Natatorium in College Park, Md.

Fourth-seeded Hawaii (19-9) faces second-seeded Stanford (25-4) in today's third-place game at 11 a.m. Hawaii time. The Cardinal were upset by third-seeded UCLA, the four-time defending champion, 12-11, in yesterday's second semifinal.

Hawaii lost to Stanford 8-6 and 11-10 this season.

The Wahine have finished fourth both times they've advanced this far (2005 and 2006). Hawaii coach Michel Roy said if the team wasn't able to advance to the championship then the goal was to finisher higher than it had previously.

“;Top three would be good,”; Roy said.

Hawaii's hope of finishing in the top two was quickly extinguished when falling behind 4-0 in the first quarter. It was 6-0 before Dagmar Genee scored the Wahine's first goal on a 5-meter penalty shot right before halftime.

“;We had some opportunities early and we missed those chances,”; Roy said. “;USC is a great team. They have great depth and it showed today. Once you get down, it's tough to come back against them.

“;Basically what we did yesterday (playing aggressively in beating Loyola Marymount) killed our top seven, eight players that we play with. (USC) played well, played hard. Jovan (USC coach Vavic) is an amazing tactician.”;

USC outscored Hawaii 6-2 in the third period, four goals coming on power plays, to take a 12-3 lead. The Wahine got goals from Carmen Eggens and Genee, the latter on another penalty shot.

The Trojans opened the fourth quarter with two unanswered goals before the Wahine answered back with a tip-in by Sivan Pardon and a power-play score by Samantha Motekaitis closed it to 14-5. USC scored three times in the final 102 seconds to extend its winning streak to 16 and earn a spot in the final for the third time in four years.