WATER POLO / NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS : USC Beats Cal in Overtime, Will Face Stanford in Final


A two-point goal by Uzi Hadar in the second overtime gave USC a 12-11 victory over California and put the Trojans in the NCAA final against Stanford.

"This is one of the greatest victories for USC ever," Coach John Williams said of Saturday's victory at Belmont Plaza in Long Beach. "We had to come from behind three times, and it was a real turning point for us because we've played Cal four times in the NCAAs and never won."

In the second overtime, USC trailed, 11-10, but had a man advantage when Hadar lined himself up behind the seven-meter line and scored into the upper left corner.

"This was the most intense game I have ever played in," said Hadar, who is a Israeli national and has played in many international competitions.

"Usually I'm a player who gives assists--for me it is more satisfying. But today I'm not complaining."

In regulation play, Cal's Troy Barnhart stole the ball from Jose Santiago and passed to Gavin Arroyo, who tied the score, 9-9, with 15 seconds to play. That forced two three-minute overtimes.

In the other semifinal, Stanford defeated UC Irvine, 12-10, to qualify for its 11th title game. Stanford has won six titles, and has beaten USC three out of four games this season. The teams will play at 4:30 p.m. today.

The Cardinal rule was not to let Irvine shoot from beyond the two-point line.

"We were willing to give up the goals right in front of the net," Stanford Coach Dante Dettamanti said. "But we didn't want to give up two-point goals."

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