Stanford wins 9th NCAA women’s water polo title

STOCKTON, Calif. — Jewel Roemer and Ryann Neushul each scored two goals and had two assists to help No. 1 Stanford past Southern California 11-9 Sunday night to win the Cardinal’s second consecutive NCAA women’s water polo championship, the ninth in program history.

Stanford and the Trojans have faced off in eight of the last 12 national title games and have combined to win each of the championships during that span. UCLA lost to Southern Cal in the 2021 title match and Stanford beat the Bruins to win national championships in 2014, ’15 and ’17.

Stanford (24-1) finished with season with eight straight wins, dating to a 17-12 loss at USC on April 8. The Cardinal, who also beat USC to win the Barbara Kalbus Invitational in Irvine, California, at the end of February and 12-7 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championship game April 30, took three of four from the Trojans this season.

Tilly Kearns scored with 3:32 to play, Alejandra Aznar scored 16 seconds later and Julia Janov capped a 3-0 spurt that trimmed No. 2 USC’s deficit to 10-9 with 1:11 left but Stanford’s Ella Woodhead answered with a goal 21 seconds later to cap the scoring.

Roemer scored about three minutes into the game, Celeste Wijnbelt’s goal late in the first period made it 4-1 and the Cardinal never trailed.

Kearns scored midway through the second quarter and Paige Hauschild added two more goals to pull the Trojans even at 4-4 going into halftime but Neushul scored her second of the game and then assisted on a goal by Roemer to give Stanford the lead for good.

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