Trojans Fall In NCAA Championship
Dec. 2, 2007
PALO ALTO, CALIF. - The USC men's water polo came up short of a fourth NCAA championship on Sunday afternoon, falling 8-6 to California in the national championship game in Palo Alto, Calif. The Bears claimed their second straight NCAA crown over the Trojans with the victory. Top-seeded USC, which won the MPSF Tournament championship to take an automatic bid into the 2007 NCAA Tournament, finishes the 2007 season with a 19-3 overall record. Cal finishes 27-4.
Six Trojans were named to the 2007 NCAA All-Tournament Team following the competition. First team honors went to senior Tommy Corcoran and sophomores J.W. Krumpholz and Matt Sagehorn. Second team awards went to seniors Adam Shilling and Gabor Sarusi and sophomore Shea Buckner.
USC led just once in the game when J.W. Krumpholz struck out of set off a pass from Justin Rappel to open the second period. Up 2-1 thanks to a first-period equalizer from Jovan Vranes. USC had misfired on two 6-on-5 chances in the first frame to hold things at 1-1 until Krumpholz lifted the Trojans ahead early in the second. Cal would tack up three straight, however, scoring on a 6-on-5 and then off a counter to work back into the lead two minutes into the second. The Bears took a 4-2 lead on a score from Zac Monsees, and then another USC 6-on-5 was stuffed by Cal goalie Mark Sheredy, who finished with 10 saves on the day. The Trojans' next man advantage would be converted, however, as senior Drew Vyn delivered from the right side to make it 4-3. USC senior goalie Adam Shilling picked up a steal and then a big save on a Cal counter next, and then Tommy Corcoran squelched a Cal shot attempt next to get USC back on the attack. Shea Buckner hit Corcoran on the left post, and Corcoran slammed in the tying score to make it 4-4 with 1:20 remaining in the half. After a Trevor Clark steal, USC went off on the counter in the final minute. Devon Borisoff lofted a lob shot, but it skimmed off the bar and Sheredy was able to recover it to keep the match tied up 4-4.
Shilling came up with another save early in the third after USC had failed to convert on a power play. A silent third period was broken by the Bears at the 3:30 mark, however, when Adam Haley went bar-down on a Cal 6-on-5 for a 5-4 lead. Corcoran earned a 5-meter penalty shot for the Trojans soon after, but Sheredy was able to knock away Gabor Sarusi's skip attempt, and Cal took a 5-4 lead into the final period of action.
In the fourth, Cal went ahead 6-4 in the first minute or play, only to have Sarusi make good on a 6-on-5 score for the Trojans with 5:47 remaining to keep it a one-goal game. Arjan Ligtenberg forced a Cal turnover on the other end, and the Trojans got a few good looks but two USC strikes went bar-out before Matt Sagehorn had his 6-on-5 shot stopped by the Bears with 4:10 to go. A scrum ensued for the rebound on Sagehorn's shot attempt, and Cal called for a timeout during the scramble. The Bears were awarded the ball and the timeout, and a minute and a half later Cal went up by two on a 6-on-5 score.
Down 7-5 with 2:36 on the clock, USC was still within reach. Krumpholz earned USC another man advantage, but once again the Cal defense knocked down a Sagehorn shot. Cal came back and took an 8-5 lead on a Monsees score on a ball that was deflected by the Trojan defense with 1:18 remaining. One last USC 6-on-5 came with 20 seconds left, and Krumpholz shoved in the score to finish out the game as an 8-6 Cal victory.
The loss snaps a six-game winning streak by the Trojans, who were competing in their 22nd NCAA Tournament. USC has won three national championships: 1998, 2003, 2005.
2007 NCAA Championship
SAVES: Adam Shilling (USC) 5, Mark Sheredy (CAL) 10.
USC Postgame Quotes - Dec. 2
Head Coach Jovan Vavic
Senior Utility Drew Vyn