No. 4 Trojans Upset Pacific To Play for MPSF Crown|
Nov. 30, 2013
STOCKTON, CALIF. -- The No. 4 seeded USC men's water polo team flexed some timely muscle with a clutch performance against top-seeded host Pacific in today's MPSF Championship semifinals in Stockton, Calif. The Trojans ripped the game open in the first period of play and just kept chugging toward the finish line with a balanced and potent offensive effort supercharged by goals from 10 different Trojans. USC led the nation's top team by as much as eight goals en route to a final 18-13 win over the Tigers. The key victory puts USC at 25-4 overall and pumps the Trojans into tomorrow's 3 p.m. MPSF Championship match where they will look to defend their conference crown from last season.
USC came out of the gates with authority, knowing it was crunch time for the five-time defending NCAA champs. Although the Tigers had it level at 1-1, USC kicked into gear on a blast from Jeremy Davie and Nikola Vavic's second bullet of the match to go up 3-1. Pacific closed to within one, but that was as close as USC would allow the host Tigers. A 5-3 USC advantage after one frame of action ballooned out to a 9-4 lead by halftime thanks to a powerful stand in the second. Kostas Genidounias, Connor Virjee, Mace Rapsey and Vavic would rattle the back of the cage for the Trojan cause while the USC defense -- anchored sternly by James Clark -- allowed just one Pacific goal through to bolster the Trojans.
In the third, USC turned a 10-6 margin into a daunting eight-goal advantage when Genidounias, Rapsey and Virjee combined forced once more for four in a row to swamp the Tigers and make the score 14-6 USC with 4:17 left in the third. That hefty padding would ward off any Tiger hopes of eating back into that substantial lead. Pacific would tally the last two goals of the game, but USC had gotten three new Trojans in on the scoring action in the fourth with tallies from Rex Butler, Russell Renteria and Mac Carden to help built USC up to that healthy 18-13 final victory. Aleck Ryner spelled James Clark after the senior goalie hauled in 11 saves for the Trojans with 3:20 to go in the match.
No. 4 seeded USC will now square off against No. 2 seed Stanford tomorrow (Dec. 1) in the MPSF Championship bout at 3 p.m. in Stockton, Calif. In the third-place game, No. 1 Pacific faces No. 3 UCLA at 1:30 p.m.
2013 MPSF CHAMPIONSHIPS (Stockton, Calif.)