No. 2 USC Stalls Out No. 3 Stanford, Tops Pomona-Pitzer
Oct. 29, 2011
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - The No. 2 USC men's water polo team made a statement today in a key MPSF tangle with No. 3 Stanford in pinning up an 8-4 win over the visiting Cardinal at McDonald's Swim Stadium. The Trojans were looking to avenge a loss to Stanford during the SoCal Tournament, while also standing out as the only team undefeated in MPSF play to date. An early 3-0 shutout of the Cardinal provided a lift, and 14 saves from goalie Joel Dennerley locked in USC as the leaders in the conference with the win. USC capped off the busy day with a 12-5 win over Pomona-Pitzer, improving the Trojans to a 15-2 overall record along with a 5-0 MPSF mark. Stanford goes to 14-4, 3-2 with today's loss.
In front of a packed house at McDonald's Swim Stadium, the Trojans made their move early and jumped ahead 3-0 on goals from Stephen Siri, Brian Boswell and Michael Rosenthal. Rosenthal's score came on almost pure will, as he shoved home a strike from the left post for a lift in the final minute of the first period. Stanford ended its silence with a natural goal from Alex Bowen, but Dennerley dashed the Cardinal's hopes of making it a one-goal affair when the senior goalie slammed away a Stanford 5-meter penalty shot less than a minute later. Knowing that their net was secure in Dennerley's hands, the Trojan offense plugged in two more goals. Peter Kurzeka pump-faked his way past Stanford goalie Brian Pingree to make it 4-1, and Jack Plaga ripped in a 6-on-5 strike with six seconds left in the half for a 5-1 Trojan advantage.
Pingree had been a stubborn force against USC backhand attempts out of set throughout the first half, but Jeremy Davie solved the issue with a searing low slam to take the Trojans out front 6-2. Stanford would manage a 6-on-5 score from Bowen next to stop USC's scoring run at three, but Connor Virjee would find Boswell on a USC 6-on-5 soon after as the Trojans tore ahead 7-2 with 3:31 to go in the third period. The USC defense continued to flex its muscle the rest of the frame, crashing two-meters and serving up field blocks while Dennerley hauled in another 5-on-6 save. Another impressive save by Dennerley took an unlucky bounce back into the hands of Peter Sefton on a Stanford counterattack, and Sefton made good on his second try to make it 7-3 USC. Bower finished off his hat trick with a 6-on-5 score next, but the Trojans had the last word in putting an 8-4 win in the books when Kurzeka rattled one around the back of the cage to wrap up the Trojan victory.
Not long after the Trojans closed up shop against Stanford, USC turned to take on Pomona-Pitzer in a nonconference clash. The Sagehens gave the Trojans trouble in the first frame, taking a 2-1 lead early before a late goal from Jack Plaga - his second of four in the game - sent the Trojans off on a five-goal run that carried USC to an 8-3 halftime lead. A shot from Forest Monroe to the top shelf would make it 9-4 going into the fourth, where Plaga provided two more and Marc Vonderweidt wrapped up the win on the counter for a 12-5 USC win.
USC has another double-header on tap for next week when Pepperdine comes to town for a 1 p.m. MPSF match on Saturday (Nov. 5) followed by a clash with Chapman at 2:30 p.m. at McDonald's Swim Stadium.
Oct. 29, 2011 - McDonald's Swim Stadium
#2 USC 12, Pomona-Pitzer 5