No. 2 USC Swamps No. 5 Pacific and Redlands In San Diego|
Sept. 7, 2014
SAN DIEGO, CALIF. -- The No. 2 USC men's water polo team got to test the waters of the site of this year's NCAA Championships with early-season action at the Triton Invitational, hosted by UC San Diego this weekend. By all accounts, the Trojans -- who boast a large group of newcomers for 2014 -- passed with flying colors. Two big wins on day one were followed by a 27-7 victory over Redlands and a 10-3 win over No. 5 Pacific today. The afternoon tilt against the Tigers presented a rematch of the 2013 NCAA Championship game, which USC won in overtime to claim a sixth consecutive national championship. The 2014 Trojans are now 4-0 overall after their first weekend of work.
In the rematch against No. 5 Pacific, USC proved it still holds plenty of finishing power. The Trojans busted out of a tight first half, turning a 4-2 lead into a 10-2 advantage with a scoring surge that left the Tigers scrambling in the second half. The USC defense held Pacific silent for over 16 minutes of play while making that six-goal outburst at the other end. The Tigers were able to scrape together one last goal in the last minute of the game, but USC was comfortably out of reach.
Pacific had managed the first goal of the game on a penalty shot, only to see USC's Rex Butler and Grant Stein strike back to move into the lead. The Trojans would stay ahead of the Tigers the rest of the way, with Butler and Stein tag-teaming again in the second frame for a 4-1 lead. Pacific cut it to 4-2 by halftime, but it could not come close to solving the Trojans in the second half. Mac Carden and Kostas Genidounias punched up goals in the third period to move USC ahead 6-2, the USC defense -- anchored by freshman goalie McQuin Baron, who racked up 14 saves in the win -- reigned supreme. USC shut out Pacific through the third frame and on into the fourth until that last Tiger strike with 35 ticks to go. By that time, USC's Marc Vonderweidt and Bryce Hoerman had gotten in on the scoring, with Genidounias and Carden ripping in one more apiece in USC's six-goal run. That 10-3 final wrapped the day's action for the Trojans, who had begun the day with a dominant performance against Redlands.
A whopping 14 different Trojans busted through to the back of the cage in that morning matchup against Redlands, including the first career goals scored by USC redshirt freshmen Mitch Embrey and Chase Borisoff and true freshman Bryce Hoerman. With two goals apiece in the game, Embrey and Hoerman helped make it a group of eight Trojans who tallied multiple-goal outings in the morning match. Leading the way for USC once again was senior Kostas Genidounias, who rifled in five for the Trojan cause. Luke Felton and Lachlan Edwards, meanwhile, each rang up hat tricks to keep USC rolling. Redlands matched the Trojans early, only to see USC move ahead with a 4-0 scoring run. USC would turn an 8-3 lead in the first quarter into a 14-4 lead by halftime as the Trojan defense locked down on Redlands. USC would again allow just one goal through in the third period of play, all the while nailing nine more goals into its own scoring column to craft a daunting 23-5 lead on the way into the final frame. The fourth period was where Borisoff and Embrey got on the board for the first time as Trojans, helping wrap up a 27-7 final victory. USC freshman goalie Ben Goncharenko went the distance in the cage against Redlands, collecting five saves in the game.
USC's next action takes the Trojans to Redlands, Calif., for four games at the Inland Empire Classic next weekend on Sept. 13-14.
SAVES: Ben Goncharenko (USC) 5, Jamison (RED) 3, Best (RED) 5, Sekula (RED) 2.
SAVES: McQuin Baron (USC) 14, Moore (PAC) 12.