By Jana Persky
Welcome to The Daily’s live coverage of the women’s water polo national championship game. No. 2 Stanford is looking for its third straight national title, but standing in the way is No. 1 USC, which has taken two of three previous meetings between the teams this season. We’ll be updating this page with instant coverage and analysis. Please refresh the page for the most recent updates.
5:01 PM: Thanks for following our live blog today. Full recap and reaction to come soon.
4:59 PM: Final recap: 10-9 USC in five overtimes. Stanford’s goal scorers: Seidemann (3), Dodson (2), Steffens (2), Grossman and Neushul. Goalkeeper Kate Baldoni made 11 saves in her final game for the Cardinal.
4:52 PM: These were the top two teams all year and they showed in in a classic championship game in Boston. USC clearly had Stanford’s number this year as the Women of Troy took three of four meetings, including the two that mattered most (MPSF Final and NCAA Final).
4;49 PM: Heartbreaking ending for the Cardinal. Stanford had its chances but USC’s Spanish Olympian freshman Anni Espar bounces a shot off the crossbar and in to end the game and halt Stanford’s hope of a three-peat.
4:48 PM: Anni Espar scores, USC wins.
4:48 PM: Stanford getting better looks than USC as defense forces another weak Trojan attempt. Seidemann walks in and fires at the other end but Bolonyai comes up big once again.
4:47 PM: Dodson is literally unbeatable on the sprint. Seidemann sets up Dries in front but Bolonyai makes the stop.
4:46 PM: Announcers are saying this is the longest ever women’s water polo national championship game. Next goal will stop the clock and determine the national champion.
4:45 PM: Teams will switch sides again as fourth OT ends. Stanford had just one offensive possession in the last three-minute period but nearly capitalized as Seidemann had two good looks. The Stanford senior has hit the crossbar at least four times today.
4:42 PM: Stanford on powerplay, Seidemann hits the crossbar for the second time in the possession. 14 seconds left in period, USC ball.
4:42 PM: Defense makes the stop again, Stanford finally has offensive opportunity.
4:41 PM: Defense forces USC into weak shot and Baldoni has the ball, but foul gives ball back to USC again. Dangerous times for Stanford.
4:40 PM: Seidemann makes a huge field block but USC has the ball again with a fresh shot clock.
4:40 PM: USC has the ball with 12 seconds on the shot clock.
4:39 PM: Some sort of problem with the shot clock in Boston. Confusion on the pool deck.
4:39 PM: Dodson wins her eighth sprint, but foul gives the ball back to USC. Women of Troy setting up.
4:36 PM: Fourth OT period about to begin in a classic national title game in Boston. Next goal will win the game.
4:34 PM: Maggie Steffens fires a shot that goes wide, USC ball, but time expires on the first OT. Sudden death continues after the teams switch sides.
4:33 PM: Seidemann mauled at two meters, USC counters but Stanford slows them down and forces USC into outside shot that Baldoni blocks.
4:32 PM: Both teams playing tough defense to begin sudden death OT. Stanford with the ball again.
4:32 PM: Card turns it over, now USC has the chance.
4:32 PM: Dodson has won 7-of-7 sprints today. Card with the ball and chance to win.
4:31 PM: Kaley Dodson’s sprinting could be key here as the next goal will win the game. Sudden-death OT about to begin in Boston.
4:29 PM: Coming out of timeout, USC couldn’t even get a shot off. Card defense comes up huge in crunch time, but no more room for error for either side as the game enters sudden death. So many stars on both teams, who will be the hero?
4:28 PM: Defense forces USC into shot clock violation, Neushul gets a shot but Bolonyai saves it. Sudden death to come.
4:26 PM: Stanford will definitely get another possession because of the shot clock, but a USC goal here would obviously put the pressure on.
4:25 PM: Foul on Card, USC calls timeout to set up. The Women of Troy have the ball with 45 seconds to go so Baldoni and Stanford defense will need to come up big here.
4:24 PM: Stanford calls timeout after USC capitalizes on another man-up opportunity.
4:23 PM: Buckling again as the penalty expires. 9-9, 55 seconds to go.
4:23 PM: USC has another 6-on-5 opportunity as Dodson is excluded. 1:15 to go.
4:22 PM: Card makes a steal and goes the other way but Neushul’s shot is blocked. 1:46 to go, 9-8 Stanford.
4:22 PM: Seidemann faked close to a dozen times before putting that shot away for her third of the game. Olympic experience.
4:21 PM: Dodson wins the sprint again. Card works the ball to Dries who draws an exclusion. Seidemann walks in and scores. 9-8 Stanford.
4:19 PM: Second overtime is about to begin in Boston. We’re all tied at 8 with three minutes left to potentially decide the title. If the game is still tied after three minutes, it heads to sudden death.
4:17 PM: USC’s final shot of the first overtime goes wide. Neushul made a pinpoint pass to set up Steffens on the doorstep where the freshman put away her second goal of the game. Second three-minute overtime period coming up to decide the national championship.
4:16 PM: Stanford ties it with 10 seconds left in the first overtime. Steffens scores from in close.
4:15 PM: Stanford works the ball around, but Dodson’s shot goes wide right. One minute to go in first OT period.
4:14 PM: Dodson excluded. USC has been good on 6-on-5 today, but Baldoni makes a key save to kill the opportunity.
4:14 PM: USC steals it and has another offensive possession. Stanford must make a stop here.
4:13 PM: Stanford wins the sprint again but Steffens’ shot goes over the cage. USC goes the other way and scores on the counter. 8-7 USC.
4:12 PM: If game is still tied after both periods, then play enters sudden death.
4:11 PM: Two three-minute overtime periods to come. Not sudden death, will play all six minutes no matter what.
4:08 PM: Bolonyai had made a huge save on a tipped shot by Annika Dries earlier in that powerplay. Card got the ball back and worked it inside to Grossman who poked it in to tie the game with 12 seconds to go.
4:06 PM: Card takes advantage of powerplay, USC’s shot goes wide and we’re going to overtime.
4:05 PM: Ashley Grossman ties it at 7 with 12 seconds left.
4:05 PM: Dries draws the exclusion. Cardinal has a 6-on-5 with 35 seconds to go so Coach Tanner uses final timeout. Stanford must score.
4:04 PM: USC takes the lead for the first time all game. Cardinal calls timeout, needs to score to avoid heartbreaking loss.
4:04 PM: Stanford kills the powerplay but USC’s Espar scores right after. 7-6 USC, 45 seconds remaining.
4:03 PM: USC has a powerplay with about a minute to go. Neushul excluded.
4:02 PM: Intense in Boston as the game is tied with 1:20 to go and USC holding the ball.
4:00 PM: Hannah Buckling with her third goal of the game, and this one is particularly killer as Stanford had almost closed down the possession, but Buckling skipped a long shot past Baldoni to tie the game for the first time since 0-0.
3:59 PM: USC shot with 2 seconds on the shot clock ties the game. 6-6, 1:56 to go.
3:56 PM: Cardinal calls timeout after another big defensive stop. 3:06 to go, Stanford leading 6-5.
3:55 PM: Stanford defense comes up big, kills off 6-on-5. 3:52 remaining.
3:52 PM: Steffens excluded, USC calls timeout with 4:37 to go in the game. Big 6-on-5 coming up.
3:51 PM: Stanford doing a great job keeping USC offense way outside, keeps Women of Troy without a good shot in a minute of possession.
3:50 PM: Same thing at the other end, USC has the ball down 6-5 with 6:12 to go.
3:49 PM: Seidemann’s shot is saved but Card keeps the ball after USC foul.
3:48 PM: Dodson wins the sprint again. Would be nice for Card to take two-goal lead here as the fourth quarter begins.
3:47 PM: Stanford is looking for its third straight national title, but certainly not home free yet. Eight minutes left in Harvard.
3:44 PM: Third quarter ends with Stanford holding on to 6-5 lead. Card has led all game but USC hanging around.
3:43 PM: Stanford has shut down Espar and Vavic so far, but USC has scored on three of six powerplay opportunities to stay close.
3:43 PM: Buckling responds with a powerplay goal for USC. 6-5 Stanford.
3:42 PM: Stanford had great ball movement leading up to Seidemann’s second goal of the game, an outside shot from the middle. Card takes advantage of timeout and 6-on-5.
3:41 PM: Seidemann takes advantage, 6-4 Stanford.
3:40 PM: This is Stanford’s fourth 6-on-5 of the game. 2:56 to go in the 3rd quarter.
3:39 PM: Stanford gets a powerplay and Coach Tanner calls timeout. Stanford, clinging to a one goal lead, needs to capitalize on one of these opportunities.
3:37 PM: USC’s Hannah Buckling scores on a counterattack. 5-4 Stanford.
3:36 PM: Stanford kills off powerplay after Kaley Dodson tips two passes. USC ultimately gets a shot but Baldoni is there.
3:33 PM: Seidemann hits the crossbar with a rocket for the second consecutive possession. If those are on target, they aren’t being stopped. USC calls timeout with 5:32 remaining in the quarter after Dries is excluded.
3:32 PM: Baldoni steps up again to keep the momentum in Stanford’s favor.
3:31 PM: Kaley Dodson again finishes an outside shot. 5-3 Stanford.
3:31 PM: Baldoni saves USC’s first chance of the second half. She was tournament MVP last year.
3:30 PM: Second half opens with Stanford winning the sprint.
3:29 PM: Stanford scorers: Maggie Steffens, Melissa Seidemann, Kaley Dodson and Kiley Neushul. Madeline Rosenthal scored twice for USC and Nicolina McCall added one. USC is 2-4 on 6-on-5’s while Stanford is 0-3. Both goalies with solid play.
3:25 PM: Final USC shots goes off the crossbar and it’s halftime. Stanford holding on to 4-3 lead.
3:24 PM: Bolonyai makes two saves on powerful shots from Steffens and Neushul. Cardinal is 0-3 on powerplay opportunities.
3:23 PM: Action has certainly picked up in the second quarter as both teams have started working the ball inside on offense. Stanford has a powerplay with 50 seconds in the half.
3:23 PM: USC capitalizes on a powerplay opportunity. 4-3 Stanford.
3:21 PM: Kiley Neushul responds with a goal. 4-2 Stanford
3:21 PM: Nicolina McCall backhanded that shot past Baldoni. Stanford has given up two straight after taking a 3-0 lead.
3:20 PM: USC scores. 3-2 Stanford, 2:23 to go before halftime.
3:19 PM: Dries fires a shot that Bolonyai saves. Garton in the right place but can’t put away the rebound.
3:16 PM: Baldoni makes a save to kill off a powerplay and maintain Stanford’s two goal lead.
3:15 PM: USC gets on the board after Ashley Grossman is excluded. 3-1 Stanford with 6:05 left in the second quarter.
3:14 PM: Dodson fired a sidearm shot past Bolonyai. Stanford head coach John Tanner was disappointed that his team got out to a slow start in the MPSF final. Not a problem today.
3:12 PM: Kaley Dodson gives Stanford a 3-0 lead early in the second quarter.
3:09 PM: The first quarter has ended with Stanford holding a 2-0 lead on goals from Steffens and Seidemann. Great play from Baldoni and the defense so far.
3:08 PM: Stanford is unable to capitalize and USC gets a power-play of their own at the end. USC takes timeout with eight seconds left in the quarter.
3:07 PM: The Cardinal has a 6-on-5 with less than a minute remaining in the quarter.
3:06 PM: Steffens made a great pass to set up that goal. Two 2012 Olympians connecting.
3:05 PM: Seidemann doubles the lead. 2-0 Cardinal.
3:04 PM: Both goalies making great saves to start the game.
3:03 PM: Seidemann gets a breakaway after a USC exclusion but Bolonyai blocks it.
3:02 PM: Neushul’s shot is saved, the Cardinal gets the rebound but can’t take advantage of the extra possession. USC goes the other way and Baldoni makes the save.
3:00 PM: Kelsey Suggs is excluded but Dries makes the field block to kill off the power play.
2:59 PM: Maggie Steffens scores on the Cardinal’s opening possession. 1-0 Stanford.
2:58 PM: Dodson wins the opening sprint and the 2013 women’s water polo national championship game is underway.
2:57 PM: And we’re about to begin. Baldoni, Neushul, Steffens, Suggs, K. Dodson and Dries in to start for the Cardinal.
2:53 PM: All four Peter J. Cutino award finalists will be in the water today. Dries, Seidemann and Steffens were all nominated and USC’s Monica Vavic was the fourth finalist. The 2012 Award was won by Stanford sophomore Kiley Neushul.
2:52 PM: Still waiting for the match to begin.
2:41 PM: This game will be a rematch of the 2012 national title game, which the Cardinal won 6-4. There will be added firepower, however, as both teams added Olympians for this year’s season. For Stanford, Annika Dries and Melissa Seidemann returned to the Farm after winning the gold medal for Team USA along with Olympic MVP Maggie Steffens, who is playing her first season for the Cardinal. USC has its own stable of Olympians, as freshman Anni Espar competed for Spain last year and junior goalkeeper Flora Bolonyai played for Hungary. Unlike Dries and Seidemann, Bolonyai also played collegiately last season and made nine saves in the national title game.
2:25 PM: Apparently the game has been pushed back to a 2:45 PST start time.
2:23 PM: The game should be starting any minute now. To recall, the teams split two regular season meetings before USC took the rubber match in the MPSF final. Click here for our coverage of that game.