Nov. 11, 1997
USC Ranked No. 2 in Coaches Poll
THIS WEEK - The USC men,s water polo team (15-5 overall, 4-3 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation for fourth place), goes north to face Pacific on Saturday (Nov. 15) at noon in its final regular-season MPSF contest, then visits Stanford on Sunday (Nov. 16) at noon in a non-conference rematch of last week,s game, which the Cardinal won, 8-6.
RANKINGS - USC was ranked No. 2 in the Nov. 4 American Water Polo Coaches Association Top 20 Poll, while Pacific was No. 7 and Stanford was No. 3.
LAST WEEK - USC split two MPSF games at home last weekend, falling to Stanford, 8-6, but coming back to beat Long Beach State, 8-4. Senior driver Mateo Juric and junior driver Marko Pintaric each had two goals against the Cardinal, while Juric had four points against the 49ers.
OPPONENTS - Stanford (15-5, 6-2, third place) features junior goalie Chris Aguilera, who was the MPSF Player of the Week after the Cardinal beat USC and UC Santa Barbara last weekend. The Trojans defeated the Cardinal in the final of the Nor-Cal Tournament, but Stanford leads the series, 45-15, since 1979 ... Pacific (7-10, 1-6, tied for seventh) is led by junior driver Roman Yegiyants, 31 points. The two teams are meeting for the first time this season, and USC leads the series, 20-4, since 1979.
JOHN WILLIAMS & JOVAN VAVIC - Co-head coaches John Williams and Jovan Vavic shared MPSF Coach of the Year honors in 1996 after leading USC to the conference championship as well as an overall record of 23-3 and a second-place national finish. Williams, a former USC All-American, entered his 25th year as head coach of the Trojans with a record of 403-243-7 (.623). Vavic was promoted to co-head coach prior to 1995, and in the last two seasons, USC went 43-8 (.843).
MARKO PINTARIC - USC,s newest addition from Croatia, junior driver Marko Pintaric has had little trouble adjusting to collegiate water polo. He is the Trojans, leading scorer with 49 goals and 52 points. He was named MPSF Player of the Week on Oct. 5 after scoring five points in a win against UCLA (Oct. 3). Pintaric was named to the All-So-Cal Tournament first team after leading the Trojans in scoring with nine goals. He also led the Trojans in scoring at the Nor-Cal Tournament with 13 points.
MATEO JURIC - After missing the first eight games with a wrist injury, senior driver Mateo Juric is back and at the top of his game. He scored nine points at the Nor-Cal Tournament, including the game-winner against Stanford in the championship, and five points in a win against UC Irvine (Oct. 26). He has a total of 23 points. Juric is a two-time third team All-American.
SIMUN CIMERMAN - A second team All-American in 1996 and an honorable mention All-American in 1995, Simun Cimerman could earn first team honors with another strong campaign in 1997. The senior driver, who has one of the best shots in the NCAA, has scored 29 points so far. He was named to the All-So-Cal Tournament first team.
JAMES CASTLE - A starter on the U.S. Junior National Team the last two years, sophomore James Castle (Hacienda Heights, Wilson HS) is one of USC,s standouts in 1997. He,s playing well with 31 points, including a career-high four goals against UC Davis (Sept. 26). Castle surpassed his 1996 total of 17 points after just nine games. He was named to the All-So-Cal Tournament second team.
COACH WILLIAMS SAYS - ,We had a disappointing loss against Stanford, and it hurts because it was a conference loss. But at least we get another chance against them at their place this weekend. We can,t look past Pacific, though, because it is an important conference game.0/00