After rising to a No. 3 rank, the women’s water polo team will look to add its third-straight title victory at the Barbara Kalbus Invitation this weekend. The Trojans have won the last two years’ tournaments, which have been hosted by UC Irvine. Photo by Emily Smith | Daily TrojanOver three days, the team will have the chance to face four opponents, including top competitors such as No. 1 Stanford, No. 2 Cal and No. 4 UCLA. The tournament is a chance for the top teams in the MPSF and the nation to face off. From year to year, it is a consistently competitive weekend, but this year, the tournament will feature 16 top-20 teams, providing a truly elite lineup of competition.The weekend for the Trojans will start out with a matchup against San Jose State on Friday. The No. 18 team will provide a solid challenge to begin the weekend, but the team’s eyes will be set on the second game of the tourney. A win over San Jose State would result in a game against the winner of the opening game between No. 6 Arizona State and No. 15 UC San Diego on Saturday. An opportunity to face the Sun Devils this early in the tournament would be a welcome trial for the Trojans, who often duel with them in the MPSF tournament.A pair of opening victories would give the Trojans a berth into the semifinal game on Saturday night. The ultimate goal of the tournament is to reach the championship game on Sunday, which could set the team against any of its in-state foes. The Trojans already took down the Bruins in a 6-4 victory in the title game of the Triton Invitational two weeks ago. The win gave the Trojans their fifth-straight championship in the tournament, highlighted by two goals from standout freshman driver Paige Hauschild, who scored the final goal to clinch the 2-point advantage. Hauschild went on to win MPSF Newcomer of the Week following her performance in the tournament. The award was her second in only six weeks of NCAA play.Although the Trojans took home the title thanks to a ferocious offensive effort — with senior captain driver Brianna Daboub notching her 100th career goal in the semifinal victory over UC Irvine — it was the defense that held down the championship for USC. Goalkeepers senior Victoria Chamorro and junior Amanda Longan split time in the net, with Chamorro earning 27 saves on the weekend and Longan picking up 23 in the semifinal and championship match.A similar defensive effort will be necessary for the Trojans this weekend, as they will most likely face off against two of the top four teams in the nation. The team has yet to face Cal and Stanford so far this season, but all three teams are well-acquainted as they will play each other a handful of times in regular season games and tournaments, as well as in the MPSF and NCAA tournaments. The matchups are not set in stone yet, but the Trojans can expect a challenge no matter which of their in-state rivals they face at the finish line.
NASCAR tossed out two key Waltrip employees, handed crew chief David Hyder a $100,000 fine – the largest in series history – and docked Waltrip 100 points. But NASCAR didn’t kick him out of the garage, something other drivers questioned. “To tell you the truth, I think he got off easy,” Joe Nemechek said. “It gave the sport a black eye. I think Michael Waltrip is very fortunate to be in this race.” Waltrip expected that reaction from some and said president Mike Helton encouraged him to race Thursday when all Waltrip wanted to do was go home and hide. “I came real close to not racing today,” Waltrip said hours before his qualifying event. “I just felt like there would be a cloud over whatever I accomplished today because of what happened.” He was contrite at his morning news conference, and that didn’t change after he secured his spot in the field. Toyota officials, conspicuously absent in his morning apology session, gathered around him after the race. “I couldn’t be happier for Michael and his organization. … What a turn of events,” said Lee White, general manager of Toyota Racing Development. “Michael Waltrip carried two cars in – that’s 7,000 pounds – a pretty heavy load for the guy.” Teammate Dale Jarrett rushed to Waltrip’s side on a chaotic pit road, grabbing his boss in a bear hug. “Proud of you. Want you to know that,” Jarrett said. “I appreciate that,” Waltrip said, lips quivering. “I knew you could handle it, anyway,” Jarrett replied. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Michael Waltrip cheated, apologized and then vindicated himself the only way he knew how: He drove his way into the Daytona 500. The two-time Daytona winner – almost too embarrassed to get behind the wheel after his team was caught in NASCAR’s biggest cheating scandal – capped a roller-coaster week Thursday by earning a spot in the Great American Race. Because of NASCAR’s complicated qualifying format for this event, it also guaranteed rookie David Reutimann a spot along with the two other Toyota Camrys that Waltrip owns. Reutimann would have had to race his way in otherwise. But there was little celebration at the finish line, where Waltrip sat stone-faced inside his car as he battled a wave of conflicting emotions. “I’m probably the most depressed guy you have ever seen make the Daytona 500,” he said with a sigh. “I’m thankful. I’m sad. I’m happy at the same time. Daytona does that to you.” So does cheating. Waltrip’s humiliating debut with Toyota began Sunday when NASCAR found a suspicious substance in his intake manifold. After three days of examination, it was determined to be a fuel additive designed to dramatically boost horsepower in a car that previously had struggled with speed. “I know I am good enough to do it without having any cheating on my car,” he said. “I don’t need it. I can go fast without it. I think we proved that today.” Waltrip’s eighth-place finish in the first qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway was good enough to get him in the field.
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