No. 3 USC Powers Up For 15-7 Win Over No. 4 Pacific|
Oct. 1, 2016
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. — The No. 3 USC men’s water polo team whipped up the first seven goals of the game and kept visiting No. 4 Pacific at bay the rest of the way en route to a 15-7 victory in home waters at Uytengsu Aquatics Center. Ten different Trojans contributed to the scoring onslaught, while goalie McQuin Baron crept even closer to the No. 2 all-time career saves slot as he collected 14 saves on the defensive end. He’s now two saves away from locking even with Kevin Stringer at No. 2 in the USC history books. Today’s win over the Tigers takes the Trojans to 12-1 overall on the year.
USC’s early surge was sparked by a ripper from Matteo Morelli and got an extra head of steam after Lachlan Edwards issued a blast out of set for the Trojans. Baron would squash the Tigers’ first 6-on-5 opportunity next, and USC then sprinted back off on its scoring tear. Thomas Dunstan was the provider on USC’s next two goals, finished off by Blake Edwards and Matt Maier to make it 4-0 Trojans. Baron came up big with another significant stop, and then Mihajlo Milicevic rocketed in a solo shot to make it 5-0 in the final minute of the first. A resounding field block from James Walters would wrap up the frame, bringing up the next eight minutes of action. A nifty lob from Marin Dasic kept USC’s streak rolling right along before USC pounced on its first 6-on-5 with a feed from Blake Edwards finished off by Walters to craft that 7-0 lead. USC’s run was snapped with a 6-on-5 from Pacific, and then the Tigers managed an even strike next to cut it to a 7-2 score. The USC defense would double down on the next two Pacific power plays, though, with a Baron save and a Dasic field block. The halftime action would be topped off by a slick one-two punch as Blake Edwards took a pass from Stein and popped it right back out to the sure-handed lefty for a searing score that made it an 8-2 USC lead at the break.
Stein stepped into the set-up role to open the second half, delivering back-to-back assists to Lachlan Edwards on booming blasts to punch up a 10-2 lead for the Trojans. USC would shut down another Pacific 6-on-5 next, and then Matteo Morelli would lace a shot into the top corner to keep USC’s offense clicking. Then, Zach D’Sa found Bryce Hoerman for a stinging strike to pad USC’s lead out to a 10-goal margin, up 12-2. Pacific managed another two-goal surge next, but D’Sa nabbed a steal soon after and set up Matt Maier for a slam that made it 13-4. The Tigers had a change to cut in with a 5-meter penalty shot opportunity before the end of the third, but Baron was all business between the pipes. The junior Olympian came up with the big save, and USC carried that 13-4 lead into the fourth. In the final frame, Morelli found Milicevic for the reach and jam on a power play, while Dunstan got on the board when he buried a setup from Blake Edwards. Pacific would get three goals to go in the fourth, but USC’s hefty advantage and scoring prowess had the victory assured as the Trojans wound up with a 15-7 win.
The Trojans remain in home waters for their next test, hosting Pepperdine in a 5 p.m. matchup on Friday (Oct. 7) at Uytengsu Aquatics Center. USC will then make the journey down to Irvine for a face-off against UC Irvine on Sunday (Oct. 9) at 1 p.m.
#3 USC 15, #4 Pacific 7
SAVES: McQuin Baron (USC) 14, Alen Osmanovic (PAC) 11.