No. 2 USC Proves Hot-Handed In Wins At Inland Empire Classic|
Sept. 12, 2015
REDLANDS, CALIF. -- The No. 2 USC men's water polo team heated up for two more big wins as the Trojans kicked off the Inland Empire Classic with a 30-4 victory over Whittier and a 28-5 win over Chapman. The hottest hands in each contest belonged to Blake Edwards and Matteo Morelli. Edwards got USC out of the gates by punching up four goals in the first period of play against the Poets, en route to a six-goal outing by the Trojan newcomer. Against Chapman, Morelli scored three in the first frame on the way to a five-goal effort in that one. After the two wins today, USC improves to 4-0 on the year.
Overall, USC had 16 different Trojans get to the back of the net across today's two wins. Of those 16, two redshirt freshmen tallied their first career goals as Trojans. Murphy Slater went big in game one with a hat trick vs. Whittier, while Chase Koplow delivered a single strike in that one for his first career statistic. In the next game, Slater and Koplow each added another goal to their day's work. Also making his first mark for the Trojans was redshirt freshman goalie Steven Michaud, who checked in for his first minutes in covering the cage for the fourth period of action against Chapman.
USC started its stockpile of goals early when Nick Bell scored the first of the day in the first 30 seconds of the matchup with Whittier. Blake Edwards scored four in a row next for the Trojan cause, and Mihajlo Milicevic made it a 6-0 advantage with a goal midway through the first period of play. USC would pocket an 8-1 lead at the end of the frame before pumping in another eight goals in the second to boast a 16-3 advantage by halftime. Grant Stein delivered a first-half hat trick to help the cause and send USC off the races on an eventual 30-4 win over the No. 18 Poets.
The Trojans would turn right around and take on Chapman just minutes after the final whistle of game one. It was a tighter game early on in this next one after Chapman challenged USC's opening goals from Lachlan Edwards and Nick D'Sa with a strike to get on the board during the first three minutes of play. Chapman would tug it to a one-goal game again, making it 3-2 Trojans before USC countered with a nine-goal scoring surge that ballooned the lead to 11-2 during the second period. Matteo Morelli had delivered a hat trick for the Trojans in the first period of action, and USC went on to hold a 16-3 lead at halftime once again.
Ten different Trojans had scored in the first half of action, and four new USC scorers joined the scoresheet in the next half. Lazar Pasuljevic, James Walters, Chase Koplow and Murphy Slater all slotted scores in the second half, while freshman Nick Silvers scored three to finish the game with four goals to his name as USC wrapped up a 28-5 final decision over Chapman.
USC will continue competition at the Inland Empire Classic tomorrow (Sept. 13) in La Verne. The Trojans will first tangle with host La Verne at 10:20 a.m. before taking on Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at 12 p.m.
INLAND EMPIRE CLASSIC
#2 USC 30, #18 Whittier 4
#2 USC 28, Chapman 5