No. 4 USC Claims MPSF Championship
Dec. 1, 2013
STOCKTON, CALIF. -- The No. 4 USC men's water polo team came through in the clutch, topping off a powerful run at the 2013 MPSF Championships with a 10-8 victory over No. 2 Stanford in the title match. The big win secures USC with an automatic bid into the coming NCAA Championships, where the Trojans will go in pursuit of a sixth straight national championship. As the No. 4 team in the nation, winning the MPSF crown was quite possibly the only route for the Trojans to score a spot at NCAAs. This weekend, USC was all business, dropping top-seeded Pacific in the semifinals before taking out the Cardinal today in the MPSF final. USC is now 26-4 overall and has pocketed its ninth all-time MPSF Tournament title.
To get this one in the books, the Trojans had to avenge a buzzer-beater loss taken to the Cardinal two weeks earlier, and USC was ready to make a statement. The Trojans had already made their war cry in the semifinals with a dominant win over No. 1 Pacific. Today, USC gave up the first goal of the game, but fought onward and upward, equalizing on a Jeremy Davie strike and cruising out ahead 3-1 on scores from Jon Walters and Mace Rapsey. James Clark held court in the cage, and although the Cardinal pulled within one to open the second, USC took charge as Kostas Genidounias and Nikola Vavic rifled in scores to pad out the lead once more. Stanford got one to go before halftime, only to see USC answer from Vavic once more to cash USC in with a 6-3 halftime advantage.
In the third, Stanford got the first goal of the frame to go again, and that would prompt USC to make another surge. The Trojans built up a 9-4 lead on the Cardinal to remain solidly in the driver's seat. Down the stretch, Clark reigned supreme and snatched a pile of saves to wrap things up on a winning note for the Trojans. He'd finish up with 16 saves for the Trojan cause in USC's 10-8 win over Stanford.
The NCAA Championships are set to be held in Palo Alto next week, running Dec. 6-8.
2013 MPSF CHAMPIONSHIPS (Stockton, Calif.)
SAVES: James Clark (USC) 16, Drew Holland (STAN) 10.