No. 2 Trojans Snag Jovan Vavic's 500th Men's Win In 8-4 Victory At No. 5 Stanford|
Sept. 17, 2016
PALO ALTO, CALIF. -- The No. 2 USC men's water polo team rang up a key MPSF win while also snagging head coach Jovan Vavic's 500th career victory at the helm of the USC men's program with today's 8-4 decision at Stanford. The Trojans made a solid defensive stand at the Cardinal's home pool, shutting out their hosts in the first and third periods to help lock in on the road win. USC improves to 6-0 overall and takes a 1-0 start in MPSF play with the victory at Stanford's Avery Aquatic Center today.
With junior goalie McQuin Baron manning the cage, the USC defense reigned supreme once again and turned away every one of Stanford's numerous 6-on-5 opportunities. For the first time in this early stretch of the season, USC allowed more than three goals, but Stanford's four-goal effort was nowhere near enough to keep pace with the Trojan firepower. Juniors Grant Stein and Blake Edwards tallied a pair of goals apiece and fellow junior James Walters also zipped in a big goal to keep their Trojans on a path to victory while three USC newcomers tallied their first MPSF goals to help the Trojan cause. Freshmen Thomas Dunstan, Marin Dasic and Matt Maier each punched up scores, with Maier's fourth-quarter strike carried USC to a four-goal advantage over the Cardinal.
The Trojans opened the day's action with authority, sending an early message to their hosts in pinning up a 3-0 advantage in the first period of play. Faced with back-to-back Stanford power plays, USC's defense responded with a Marin Dasic field block and then a save from McQuin Baron. Soon after, Blake Edwards found Grant Stein for a left-handed ripper that lit the fuse for the USC offense. A minute later, Thomas Dunstan issued a blast that made it 2-0 Trojans, and after Baron shut down another Stanford 6-on-5 it was Blake Edwards who let fly a nearside bar-in blast to make it 3-0. Stein would throw up a field block against Stanford's final power play chance of the first, and USC's 3-0 advantage was intact going into the second.
Stanford would break its silence with back-to-back scores, first off a USC defender's deflection and then with a tip-in from the post. Next, though, Bryce Hoerman fed Dasic for a crosscage skipper that padded out the USC lead to 4-2. That score would hold through to halftime, and a defensive statement ensued in the third. It wasn't until the final minute of the third that USC was able to solve the Stanford defense with a nifty James Walters rocket out of set off an Edwards setup. That made it 5-2 Trojans as the USC defense claimed a third-period shutout of the Cardinal.
In the final frame, Baron collected another saves against yet another Stanford 6-on-5. That stop was followed by a Stein cross to freshman Matt Maier, who pounced on his opportunity at the post to tug the Trojans to a four-goal lead, up 6-2 early in the fourth. Stanford would break a scoreless drought of over 14 minutes after being awarded a 5-meter penalty shot, making it 6-3 USC with just under six minutes left to play. After Nick Bell earned a 6-on-5 for the Trojans -- their first of the second half -- Stein struck once again to take USC ahead 7-3. The Cardinal would tally one more goal in the next stretch, only to see Edwards collect his own rebound off a Stanford save and find a finishing touch from close range to close out the game as an 8-4 USC victory.
The Trojans will next take their undefeated 2016 mark up to Berkeley next weekend for action at the MPSF Invitational. USC opens up group play against Santa Clara at 1 p.m. on Friday (Sept. 23). Group play continues on Saturday (Sept. 24) with an afternoon semifinal in reach that afternoon. Placement games will be played out on Sunday (Sept. 25).
#2 USC 8, #5 Stanford 4
SAVES: McQuin Baron (USC) 8, Oliver Lewis (STAN) 15.