Trojans Take It All, Win Another SoCal Tournament Championship|
Oct. 12, 2014
WESTWOOD, CALIF. -- The No. 4 USC men's water polo team exacted some revenge today in a victorious surge to greatness once again at the SoCal Tournament. The Trojans' third straight title at the tourney was capped off by a ferocious finish for a 10-9 upset of No. 3 California. The Bears had gotten the better of the Trojans when the teams met last month during the NorCal Tournament, but USC was stalwart in this one and ready for vengeance. The Trojans had opened the day with revenge on the mind as they upended top-ranked UCLA in the Bruins own pool for a 10-6 semifinal victory. Up against the Bears in the title match, USC shrugged off Cal's attempt to force overtime, netting the eventual winner on a score from Mac Carden to seal the championship victory in Westwood. USC now holds a 16-2 overall record on the year.
USC has now won 11 of the past 12 SoCal Tournament championships, including a a now three-year stand as champ of the competitive tourney. To get to this year's title, the Trojans had to refuse to be rattled by a stubborn Cal team that just kept coming. The Bears pulled even during the third quarter and kept forcing the issue. Locked up 5-5 late in the third, USC senior Kostas Genidounias rifled one in for the go-ahead goal. Lachlan Edwards followed suit, pumping USC ahead 7-5, only to see Cal net a searing shot with just a tick to go in the frame.
Up 7-6 entering the fourth, USC saw the Bears fight back again to even it at 7-7 early in the period. Mac Carden nudged USC back into the lead, but the Bears broke back and made it 8-8 with 3:33 remaining in regulation. Nick Bell would step up and sizzle in a USC 6-on-5 strike to go up 9-8, and then USC goalie McQuin Baron went big with a series of huge saves to keep the Bears at bay. In the final minute, however, Cal showed it still had gas in the tank. After a Cal timeout, the Bears struck again, making it 9-9 and bringing the idea of overtime into the picture. Carden would have none of it, though. He'd zip in the go-ahead again for the Trojan cause, making it 10-9 USC to put the remainder of the game in the hands of the USC defense. Cal got the power play for a look at another equalizer, but the USC defense held strong, and the Bears' shot whizzed high, preserving the USC lead and securing the Trojan championship victory.
Carden, Bell and Genidounias each provided a pair of goals for the Trojans in the win over Cal, with goalie Baron hauling in nine saves to help anchor the big tournament title for USC.
The Trojans' next competition takes them to Palo Alto next weekend for an MPSF matchup against Stanford at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday (Oct. 18). The game will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks.
SAVES: McQuin Baron (USC) 9, Jon Sibley (CAL) 12.