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A World of Experience

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

genidounias2-da.JPGExperience. That's all junior driver Kostas Genidounias will credit as to why he continues to perform exceptionally for the USC men's water polo team. Though the Trojans' leading scorer hails from Greece, water polo is certainly not foreign to him. 

"I've been playing water polo for a long time, longer than most of the guys on the team," said Genidounias. "I know what it takes to control a game. I've been through all these situations with my previous teams."

Growing up in Greece, Genidounias always looked up to his older brother who inspired him at the age of eight to pick up water polo and ever since, that's all he's ever known as he continued to play all the way up to the Greek National Team.

If you look at Genidounias, you're reminded of the heroes of Ancient Greece and even more so when he's in the water dominating the opponents in his wake. However, when he talks, the young Greek is soft-spoken, light-hearted, and laid back. 

"I think that's why I adapted so easily and so quickly. I expected there to be a bigger difference but I've said it before, Greeks and Californians really are not all that different. We're all real laid back and that's why I like it here."

In the water, however, laid back is not how anyone would describe Genidounias' performance. The junior driver continues to improve every season even though he's made a dramatic impact since he arrived. 

His freshman year, Genidounias was USC's third leading scorer earning him All-America Honorable Mention and All-MPSF Honorable Mention. His sophomore season, he blew away the competition becoming USC's second leading scorer, tying USC's fifth-most single-season goals all-time. His performance made him a First Team All-American. On top of that, Genidounias was also selected to the NCAA All-Tournament First Team after scoring the national championship winning goal. 

All of those accolades certainly earn Genidounias endless bragging rights, yet the humble Greek shies away from all the attention only focusing on the task at hand, bringing that sixth national championship home. 

"Right now, all I can think about is winning another championship. We still have a long way to go. Even though we only have a few games left, they are going to be very tough," cautioned Genidounias. "I'm 100 percent focused. Me and the rest of my team are willing to do whatever it takes to bring another championship home."

The Trojans have a good shot at bringing that sixth consecutive title back to 'SC; however, they do face two tough match-ups in the next week against Stanford and UCLA. Genidounias knows that there is still so much left to work on even this late in the season, citing defense as the team's number one focus. 

"Our defense was our weapon these past few years but this year we've been letting in way too many goals. It's not too late. It's always better late than never but it is the end of the season. We've got to make sure we don't let them score as much."

If the Trojans are going to have any chance at another national championship, they are going to need clutch performances from the team's leading scorer. Genidounias raked in another accolade this week as he was named MPSF Player of the Week for the second time this season.

This award comes off of Genidounias' five-goal performance against Cal placing him sixth all time in career scoring at USC. More than that, the junior has scored in every game he's played this season. 

"It's good to be named MPSF player of the week but I just try and stay humble and not brag about anything. I just keep doing what I have to do."

There really isn't that much that Genidounias hasn't accomplished at USC but don't think that the junior is planning to coast through the rest of his time here.

"I like to say there is no top because once you get to the top then it's all downfall," said Genidounias. "We just keep moving forward. I want to achieve more and keep doing more for the team until I graduate."

Be sure to see this Greek hero in action as the Trojans take on No. 4 Stanford on Saturday at 2:00pm at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center. 

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