Top-Ranked Trojans Steam Into NorCal Semifinals|
Sept. 15, 2012
STANFORD, CALIF. - The top-ranked USC men's water polo team rolled up two more balanced wins today in the kickoff to the 2012 NorCal Tournament, where the Trojans are in search of a third straight tournament title. Now 6-0 on the year, USC moves into tomorrow's semifinals after pinning up a 22-1 win over Pomona-Pitzer and 9-4 win over No. 8 Pepperdine today in bracket action at Stanford.
USC's Saturday morning statement came with a steam-rolling of Pomona-Pitzer. With newcomer James Clark manning the cage for the first time as a Trojan, the USC defense pitched a shutout through the first three frames before the Sagehens found a lone crack in the fourth period. By then, USC was way ahead of Pomona-Pitzer, having taken a 14-0 lead at the half and expanding that to 18-0 on the way into the fourth. In the eventual 22-1 win, USC got 13 different scorers in on the action, led by hat tricks from Kostas Genidounias and Nikola Vavic and double scores from Mac Carden, Zach Lucas, Andrew Reego, Stephen Siri and Chase Watson.
From there, USC rolled into a matchup with No. 8 Pepperdine, which had topped No. 9 Long Beach State 10-8 in their morning game. Ely Bonilla took over the cage for this one, and the Trojans pieced together a well-rounded game to notch a 9-4 win over the Waves. Vavic would serve up four goals in this one to pace the USC offense, which padded a 3-1 lead in the first frame with a pair of goals in each of the next three to build space on the Waves. Pepperdine plugged a goal per frame, but couldn't match the Trojan effort that left the Waves out of reach.
USC now goes up against either host Stanford or UC Santa Barbara in tomorrow's semifinals to play for the right to defend the Trojans' back-to-back NorCal titles. USC's semifinal clash is set for 10:50 a.m. tomorrow (Sept. 16). The ball drops on the championship match that evening at 6:15 p.m., preceded by a 4:50 p.m. third-place game.
2012 NORCAL TOURNAMENT (Stanford, Calif.)
SAVES: James Clark (USC) 10, Hill (P-P), Strong (P-P) 2.
BRACKET PLAY - Game 2
SAVES: Ely Bonilla (USC) 12, Valics (PEP) 11.