No. 2 Trojans Cap Home Stand With 10-8 Win Over Long Beach State|
Nov. 17, 2013
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The No. 2 USC men's water polo team found a third-quarter surge to break out of a tight first half against visiting No. 8 Long Beach State and pull off a 10-8 win in the Trojans' final home game of the year. USC improves to 23-3 overall and 5-2 in MPSF play with the victory.
Zach Lucas' hat trick on the day paired well with a two-goal outing from Kostas Genidounias, who now stands alone as USC's No. 5 all-time scorer. The Trojans had spread their first-half scoring among four different players as USC worked to fend off a feisty Long Beach State. The 49ers had pulled back even after Jon Walters and Nikola Vavic staked USC to an early 2-0 lead and had it locked up again at 3-3 in the first half before Connor Virjee pumped the Trojans up to a 4-3 lead by halftime.
The second half began quietly, with misfires and defensive stands on both ends until Genidounias broke the silence with a blast that built USC's lead back up to two. A 49er 6-on-5 crept the visitors within reach again at 5-4 with 2:21 to go in the third, but USC found a spark in Zach Lucas, who sizzled in a goal on a power play before slicing in a sidearm score for a 7-4 Trojans advantage on the way into the fourth period. The 49ers wouldn't go away in the final frame, coming up with scores two cut it back to two out of the gates and then answering a Jeremy Davie rocket from the post. USC goalie James Clark smothered a backhand attempt by Long Beach State to preserve that two-goal margin later, and the USC erupted with back-to-back goals -- first a ripper from Genidounias on a set-up from Vavic just before Ivan Kustic slung one in with 2:04 to go to carry USC to its largest lead, up 10-6 on the 49ers. Two final 6-on-5 opportunities for the visitors would wind up in Long Beach State scores, and that would wrap up the game as a 10-8 Trojan victory.
USC's final regular-season matchup is a big one. Next week, the Trojans will be rolling across town to visit rival UCLA in a 7:30 p.m. showdown on Thursday (Nov. 21) in Westwood.
#2 USC 10, #8 Long Beach State 8
SAVES: James Clark (USC) 9, Pavo Ljepopio (LBSU) 11.