Men's Water Polo
    Trojans Take Their Place In NCAA Semifinals With Play-in Win

    USC has its eyes on the prize after scoring a place in the NCAA semis with today's win.
    Nov. 29, 2014

    LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The USC men's water polo team notched its place in the NCAA semifinals for the 10th consecutive season with a resounding 19-4 win in the NCAA Play-in game today over No. 6 seed Whittier. As the No. 3 seed in this 2014 NCAA Tournament, the six-time defending national champs are now off to La Jolla to square off against No. 2 seed Stanford in the semifinals on Saturday (Dec. 6). To get there, the Trojans had to get through Whittier today in one final home game at USC's Uytengsu Aquatics Center. Senior Kostas Genidounias cemented his spot in USC history with the first goal of the day, ringing up his 255th career goal to take over as USC's top scorer all-time as the Trojans roll to a 23-6 overall record with a ticket to La Jolla in-hand.

    Also climbing in the record books today was USC senior Rex Butler, who bumped up to No. 25 all-time in career scoring with two goals to hold 114 in his Trojan career. Freshman goalie McQuin Baron, meanwhile, edged up to No. 2 in single-season saves with five more added to his 2014 tally. Now with 264 saves this year, Baron is four away from tying the top single-season mark in USC history -- set in 1993 by Andrew Tinseth.

    While those three Trojans made leaps in the record books, the USC team as a whole really combined forces to gather in the crucial win today. Twelve different Trojans scored in the win, while the defense allowed only a single goal from the Poets in each period of play. Whittier's first goal of the game answered Geniodounias' record-breaking blast to make it a 1-1 lockup early. The Trojans responded with a flurry of goals, stringing together a five-goal surge that crafted a 6-1 lead midway through the second period. Butler went back-to-back during the run to close out the first frame, and James Walters did the same to kick off the second as USC rolled out ahead.



    Whittier got one to go three minutes before halftime to break up the rally, but USC kept coming. Senior Marc Vonderweidt started his path toward a hat trick just before Luke Felton joined the scoring for the Trojans. Max Hurst-Mendoza would make it a 9-2 USC lead just before the break, and the Trojans were in excellent position for the second half. Vonderweidt struck again, and then freshmen Grant Stein, Matteo Morelli and Mihajlo Mjilicevic followed suit to drum up a 15-5 advantage entering the fourth. Walters and Vonderweidt would each finish off their hat tricks in the final frame, while Lazar Pasuljevic got in on the scoring action to stand as USC's 12th scorer on the day. McQuin Baron would give way to fellow freshman Ben Goncharenko in the fourth, making it a total team effort for the Trojans in the eventual 19-4 victory.

    No. 3 seed USC will now makes its move southward to set up camp in La Jolla for the remainder of the NCAA Tournament, hosted by UC San Diego Dec. 6-7. The Trojans are up against No. 2 seed Stanford in a 3:10 p.m. semifinal on Saturday (Dec. 6) to take a shot at a 10th consecutive trip to the NCAA title match and aim for a potential seventh straight national championship. The NCAA final will be held at 3:10 p.m. on Sunday (Dec. 7) preceded by the third-place game at 1 p.m. that day.

    2014 NCAA Tournament Play-In Game

    [3] USC 19, [6] Whittier 4
    Nov. 29, 2013 - Uytengsu Aquatics Center (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    USC 4 - 5 - 6 - 4 = 19
    WC 1 - 1 - 1 - 1 = 4

    USC -- Marc Vonderweidt 3, James Walters 3, Rex Butler 2, Grant Stein 2, Matteo Morelli 2, Kostas Genidounias, Lazar Pasuljevic, Mihajlo Milicevic, Bryce Hoerman, Luke Felton, Lachlan Edwards, Max Hurst-Mendoza.
    WC -- Goran Mataic 3, Massimiliano Mirarchi 1.

    SAVES: McQuin Baron (USC) 5 [3 periods], Ben Goncharenko (USC) 2 [4th period], Ryan Brunansky (WC) 8.