No. 1 Stanford (16-1, 3-1 MPSF) is winless no more after losing on the road against No. 2 USC (22-1, 4-0 MPSF). The Cardinal put on a brave fight in the first three quarters before the game — and their 16-match winning streak — ultimately slipped away to the Trojans, 17-12.
USC started off strong, scoring three goals back-to-back without letting Stanford get into the game. This was until the Cardinal caught up with two goals from freshman driver Jenna Flynn. Stanford strengthened its defense by the end of the first quarter. They then trailed 3-2, only one goal behind USC.
Junior driver Jewel Roemer and redshirt senior 2-meter Aria Fischer scored in the second quarter, alongside a penalty goal from Flynn, bringing Stanford back in the game. But USC still managed to challenge the Cardinal offense, as junior goalkeeper Maya Ativial formed a wall between the posts. She totaled eight blocks and one steal throughout the game. The second quarter ended in a 6-6 tie, as the two teams remained neck and neck.
But Stanford’s defense weakened during the third quarter, allowing the Trojans to double their point total. The Cardinal still scored a total of five goals, two of these goals being penalty conversions by Roemer and redshirt junior driver Ryann Neuschel. Despite making USC struggle in the first couple of minutes, Stanford had let its guard down by the end, resulting in a 12-11 lead for the Trojans.
Despite entering the fourth quarter trailing by only 1 point, Stanford came up short and let USC score six more goals before the contest’s end. The Trojan defense proved stifling for the Cardinal — only Roemer managed to score another goal — and resulted in the first loss of the season for Stanford. The final buzzer sounded with USC firmly in control, as the Trojans won the day, 17-12.
Stanford will return home to face No. 20 San Jose State (12-15, 0-3 MPSF) on April 16. The game is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. PT next Sunday.