No. 3 USC Pins Up 15-4 Win Over No. 8 Pepperdine|
Oct. 7, 2016
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The No. 3 USC men's water polo team paired smothering defense with a widespread offensive attack to pin up a 15-4 win over visiting No. 8 Pepperdine tonight at Uytengsu Aquatics Center. While 10 different Trojans plugged in goals on the offensive end, the USC defense either snagged steals, served up field blocks or sat back and enjoyed a stellar goalkeeping performance by junior McQuin Baron. On Baron's third stop of the night, he took over at No. 2 on USC's all-time career saves chart. But there were plenty more saves still left in Baron's arsenal, as he turned away almost all of Pepperdine's power plays while amassing a 14-save night for the USC defense. The Trojans improve to 13-1 overall with tonight's home victory.
After Zach D'Sa opened the game with a blast to get USC an early lead, Pepperdine equalized soon after on a 6-on-5 opportunity. That would be the last power play that the Trojan defense and Baron would give up, however, as USC rattled off the next seven goals of the game. For the 13th time this season, USC shut out its opponent in at least one period -- this time it was the second frame in which the Trojans would silence the Waves as they built a 7-1 halftime advantage. Lazar Pasuljevic and Thomas Dustan punched in two goals each during the rally, while Nick Bell and James Walters each added their scoring touch to the offensive onslaught. USC would make it a seven-goal run when Marin Dasic hammered home a score to open the second half, making it an 8-1 USC advantage before the Waves broke through on their next possession. That prompted four more goals from the Trojans. Lachlan Edwards' muscle at set earned USC a 5-meter penalty shot that Grant Stein whipped in to make it 9-2. Matt Maier, Blake Edwards and D'Sa followed with burning blasts of their own, and USC took a 12-2 lead into the fourth while Baron continued to make huge saves in the cage.
The Trojans would keep the upper hand in the final frame as well. Pepperdine scored a 5-meter penalty shot that was promptly followed by a booming save from Baron. Maier would find Blake Edwards for the quick strike next, and after the USC defense shut down yet another Pepperdine 6-on-5, Chase Koplow hit Sam Slobodien at set for a blast that made it 14-3 Trojans. Next, it was Matteo Morelli who went skit high for the interception to snuff another Wave power play, and Dasic would finished off a Lachlan Edwards-earned power play for the Trojans on the other end. USC's 15-3 lead was snipped to 15-4 when Pepperdine wrapped the day's scoring with a goal from the post, and USC was left gripping a solid 15-4 win under the lights at Uytengsu Aquatics Center.
The Trojans now turn to take a trip to Irvine next, visiting the Anteaters on Sunday (Oct. 9) at 1 p.m. for another nonconference bout.
#3 USC 15, #8 Pepperdine 4
SAVES: McQuin Baron (USC) 14, Zackery Rhodes (PEP) 4, Philippe Marco (PEP) 5.