No. 1 USC Reigns Supreme In Beating The Bruins
Nov. 18, 2011
WESTWOOD, CALIF. - The top-ranked USC men's water polo team entered tonight's crosstown rivalry match even at the top of the national rankings with host UCLA, but by the time the water calmed at Spieker Aquatics Complex it was the Trojans holding tight to the top spot in the MPSF with a 9-6 win over the No. 1 Bruins. The victory wraps up USC's third undefeated MPSF run in the past four seasons, as the Trojans improve to 20-2 overall and finish as the top seed in the coming MPSF Tournament with their 8-0 mark in the conference with their 11th consecutive win.
USC worked its way to a 5-2 lead at halftime, and despite a wild second half that saw the Trojans' senior goalie Joel Dennerley flagged with a penalty that had fellow senior Peter Kurzeka minding the cage to face a Bruin 5-meter penalty shot - UCLA's second penalty shot of the game - USC remained in control. Field blocks from the Trojans helped deter numerous UCLA chances to tighten up the score.
The Trojans led by as much as four on a blast from Michael Rosenthal to make it 7-3 USC with 6:29 to go in the third period. UCLA drew within two on that Dennerley penalty later in the frame, but Mace Rapsey was there to gather in a Bruin block and fire in the rebound to pad out the Trojan lead to 8-5 in the early goings of the fourth. In front of a packed house in Westwood, USC's Kostas Genidounias boosted the Trojan lead to 9-6 with 3:30 to go, and USC would maintain the upper hand down the stretch to lock in on the big win.
USC's scoring effort was paced by a pair of goals from Peter Kurzeka and Kostas Genidounias. Thanks to all the defensive field blocks in the game, USC goalie Joel Dennerley's saves count was on the low side, although the three blocks he did finish with were solid momentum-stoppers against the Bruin attack. UCLA goalie Matt Rapacz finished with 16 saves, and the Bruin offense was led by Josh Samuels' hat trick.
USC's next action takes the Trojans back to Westwood for the 2011 MPSF Championships. USC will be the top seed in the tourney, which runs Nov. 25-27 at UCLA's Spieker Aquatics Center. Already the regular-season champs, Trojans are looking to claim a second straight MPSF Tournament title and punch a seventh straight ticket to the NCAA Championships.
Nov. 18, 2011 - Westwood, Calif.
SAVES: Joel Dennerley (USC) 3, Matt Rapacz (UCLA) 16.