Top-Ranked Trojans Stay Perfect With One Regular-Season Game To Go
Nov. 11, 2012
MALIBU, CALIF. -- The No. 1 USC men's water polo team has extended its 2012 perfection with a dominant 16-5 win over No. 4 host Pepperdine today. The undefeated Trojans now hold a 23-0 overall record and a 7-0 mark in MPSF play as USC eyes a potential run to a fifth straight national championship. But first, USC will play host to rival UCLA -- the nation's No. 2 team -- in their regular-season finale next week with a 4:30 p.m. televised showdown on Saturday (Nov. 17) at McDonald's Swim Stadium.
In order to whip up some extra momentum for that classic crosstown rivalry next week, the top-ranked Trojans had to get through an upset-minded Pepperdine squad today in Malibu. USC came out with nothing but business on the agenda. The Trojans shut out their host in the first half of play, while the USC offense clicked off 10 goals at the other end by half-time. Kostas Genidounias, Michael Rosenthal and Nikola Vavic each ripped in a pair of goals during that first-half swamping of the Waves, with extra ammunition provided by Mace Rapsey, Jeremy Davie, Matt Burton and Tobias Preuss during the onslaught. Another Rapsey score would kick off the second half before Pepperdine got one to go with 6:41 on the clock in the third frame, breaking almost 20 minutes of scoring silence by the Waves. James Clark held court in the cage while he turned away eight Pepperdine shots in the game.
As the second half progressed, Genidounias, Rosenthal and Vavic would all work their way into hat tricks on the day on the way to a 16-5 final victory over the Waves. Vavic's three-goal effort today follows up a history-making nine-goal outing on Saturday. His overwhelming scoring work this weekend launches the junior up to No. 5 all-time on the USC career goal chart, giving him 162 career goals to stand even with Giacomo Rossi. With 72 goals this season to date, Vavic has scored the fourth most in a single season in program history.
The all-time career scoring leader at USC is Juraj Zatovic, who scored 220 goals from 2002-05. In 1988, Zoltan Berty set USC's single-season scoring record with 81 goals.
If all goes as planned, the 2012 Trojans can have six more games left in this season, with Saturday's regular-season finale to be followed by three MPSF Tournament games and ultimately two NCAA Tournament games as the Trojans close out the rest of the year with all action held at their home pool.
#1 USC 16, #4 Pepperdine 5
SAVES: James Clark (USC) 8, Bence Valics (PEP) 11.