Stanford's all-time leading scorer Bret Bonanni scored his third goal late in regulation to force overtime, but it was host USC which came back to beat the Cardinal, 7-6, and advance to the semifinals of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation men's water polo championships Friday in Los Angeles.
The Cardinal (20-8) rallied from a pair of two-goal deficits to force its second overtime game against the Trojans (19-5) this season.
In the first half, Stanford used a pair of scores from Bonanni in the final two minutes of the second quarter to tie it at 4 at the half, with his second score coming off a five-meter penalty shot with time expired in the half.
Down, 6-4, with two minutes remaining in the third quarter, Stanford rallied again, scoring the final two goals of regulation to force overtime.
Redshirt junior Adam Abdulhamid made it 6-5 with 1:39 left in the third quarter to pull the Cardinal within one score.
Bonanni then recorded his 67th career hat trick, rattling the cage with 6:20 to play to tie it up.
Stanford and USC searched hard for the game-winner in regulation, with both goalies registering several key stops in the final minutes.
Near the end of the first overtime period, USC's Grant Stein notched his fourth goal of the game, which proved to be the game winner for the Trojans.
Junior Drew Holland registered 10 saves for the Cardinal in the contest.
Bonanni extended his school record to 353 goals.
Stanford plays again Saturday at 11:30 a.m. against Long Beach State.
No. 7 Stanford swept visiting Utah, 25-19, 25-15, 25-18, Friday in a Pac-12 Conference match at Maples Pavilion.
The Cardinal (20-6, 14-4 Pac-12) recorded a three-set sweep for the first time in nearly two weeks and improved to 12-1 all-time against the Utes. Stanford has taken 39 out of 41 sets against Utah since its addition to the Pac-12 Conference in 2011.
Even with star freshman Haley Hodson having, by her lofty standards, an off night, the Cardinal didn't miss a beat.
Senior outside hitter Brittany Howard picked up the slack, smashing 12 kills on 20 total attacks, 10 digs and two blocks for her ninth double-double of the year. Her .550 hitting percentage was just shy of her season-high of .565 at Oregon earlier this month.
"I thought the game didn't come very well to [Brittany yesterday," Stanford head coach John Dunning said. "I think as players we all understand that sometimes the game comes to you and it's easy and sometimes it's hard. I thought yesterday was hard, and today she decided to do something about it, and did a great job. I thought she blocked some good balls and attacked very aggressively the last two sets."
Stanford fell behind early, a 3-0 run by the Utes forcing the Cardinal to call a timeout trailing, 9-4.
Merete Lutz fired a kill out the break, but Utah responded and ran its advantage to 15-9 before Dunning called time again.
Eliza Katoa's kill gave Utah a 16-10 lead before Stanford came alive. Consecutive kills from Hodson and Madi Bugg, and a Lutz block spurred a 9-0 Cardinal run, part of a 15-3 run to close out the first set.
Bugg stuffed the stat sheet with four blocks, and two executed sneak attacks, three assists and three digs in her team's 25-19 win.
Tami Alade provided energy off the bench, recording two blocks along the front line and helping hold Utah to a -.083 hitting percentage.
"Utah was really excited," Dunning said. "They had a great win at Cal yesterday, and I think that carried over to the game here. They're a young team and they're getting better every week, and I thought they played really well at the start. They served great, and it took us out of it. And halfway through we woke up, and then from there on out we scored lots of streaks of points, and that's really good for us."
The second set belonged to Howard, who tallied seven kills and three digs as Stanford surged to a 25-15 victory. Hodson, Jordan Burgess and Halland McKenna all recorded aces; a kill from reserve Sidney Brown gave Stanford its largest lead of the set at 23-12 as the team cruised to a 10-point victory.
The third set see-sawed back and forth, with 13 ties and nine lead changes as Stanford looked to close things out and the Utes fought to stay alive.
The turning point was a 3-0 Cardinal run trailing by one at 16-15, which gave it a lead it would not relinquish. Stanford scored the set's last six points, three on Howard kills, to finish off the sweep 25-18.
Stanford play host to Cal for the Big Spike (and Senior Night) on Wednesday at Maples Pavilion (first serve at 8 p.m. PT), and finishes its conference slate next Friday at UCLA. Both matches will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.