Locals help Trojans win MPSF

The USC women's water polo team defeated Stanford, 11-7, on Sunday to win the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championship in Berkeley.

The next day, the Trojans were awarded the top seed for the NCAA Championship, which begins May 10 and is hosted by Harvard.

USC (24-1) features junior co-captain Kaleigh Gilchrist (Newport Harbor High) and seniors Nicolina McCall (Newport Harbor) and Chelsea Silvers (Newport Beach-Mater Dei). Gilchrist is the second-leading scorer (41 goals) for the Trojans, who beat Stanford on Saturday for the second time in three games this season. USC opens the national championships against No. 8-seeded Pomona-Pitzer.

Stanford (27-2), the two-time defending NCAA champion, was awarded an at-large berth and the No. 2 seed for the eight-team tournament. The Cardinal feature former CdM standout Kate Baldoni in goal, and also have Victoria Kennedy (CdM) and Catherine Carpenter (Newport Harbor) on their roster.

Stanford opens the NCAAs against No. 7-seeded Iona.

UCLA received the other at-large berth and the No. 3 seed. The Bruins (26-6) feature four former Newport-Mesa standouts, including Victoria Kent, Leslee Kaczmarek and Alex Musselman (CdM) and Maddy McLaren (Newport Harbor).

UCLA opens its tournament against No. 6-seeded Princeton. The Tigers won their second straight Collegiate Water Polo Assn. Eastern Division championship Sunday, earning the automatic NCAA bid by defeating Michigan, 7-5.

Princeton (26-5) features former CdM standout Diana Murphy, a freshman who has scored 36 goals this year, tied for fourth on the team. Freshman Presley Pender (Newport Harbor) scored her fourth hat trick of the season for Michigan in the Wolverines' loss. Pender led Michigan with 34 assists to go with 34 goals for the season.

The other first-round matchup pits No. 4 Hawaii (21-9) against No. 5 UC San Diego (25-13). Both teams earned automatic bids, by winning the Big West Conference and Western Water Polo Assn., respectively.

— Matt Szabo

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