No. 3 USC Pushes Through To Tourney Final Match With 8-7 Win Over No. 2 California|
Sept. 18, 2005
The No. 3 USC men's water polo team got ahead and stayed there against No. 2 California in their semifinal face-off at the Southern California Tournament at UC Irvine on Sunday. The 8-7 win puts the Trojans (4-0) in place to defend their title, as the USC squad is set to face No. 4 Stanford in the championship game at 4:45 p.m.
The start of the USC's semifinal match was delayed due to Stanford's overtime clash with No. 1 UCLA. The Cardinal got the win on a four-meter penalty shot in overtime, but the Trojans made sure to get the job done in the first four periods of play for their semifinal showdown.
USC went up 2-0 on the Bears, and then roared out to a 4-1 advantage in the first period. That cushion proved crucial for the Trojans, as Cal made some moves to close in, but could not overcome the USC edge. The Trojans' largest lead of the game came appropriately at the hands of their most productive scorer, Juraj Zatovic, who punched in a score in the third quarter that made it 7-2 USC. The score marked Zatovic's 11th of the Trojans' young season.
Ahead 7-5 entering the final frame, USC got a man-up goal from Joe Cosentino that put the Trojans out of reach -- despite two Cal scores in the period.
Zatovic was one of seven USC scorers in the match, marking another well-rounded attack from the Trojans. Thomas Hale led all USC scorers with two goals, followed by scores from Ted Zepfel, Pavol Valovic, Juan Delgadillo, Tommy Corcoran, Joe Cosentino and Zatovic. Don Ricci was in the cage for the Trojans, picking up six saves in the win.
USC 4 - 1 - 2 - 1 --- 8
California 1 - 2 - 2 - 2 --- 7
Saves: Don Ricci (USC) 6; Bennett (Cal) 5.