Dec. 5, 1997
No. 1USC Defeats Queens, Advances to NCAA Finals
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The No. 1 ranked USC men's water polo team, MPSF champions, advanced to the national title match for the second year in a row by defeating No. 10 ranked Queens Colege, 14-6, Friday night in the opening round of the 1997 NCAA Championship.
The Trojans (21-6) will face No. 2 ranked Pepperdine (24-3) in the NCAA Championship Sunday at 2:30 p.m. EST. Queens College (25-6) will take on UC Davis (15-19) in the third-place match at 1 p.m. EST. Pepperdine had defeated UC Davis, 13-8, in the earlier semifinal match.
Whoever wins the contest between USC and Pepperdine will be capturing its first NCAA Water Polo final. The Trojans have been runner-ups five times, including two-of-the last three years. The Waves, making their first NCAA appearance since 1994, had a previous high finish of third place in 1991.
USC jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period with goals by junior Marko Pintaric, sophomore Allen Basso and sophomore Luke Daniels. Queens finally got on the board on a goal by Horatiu Tocan with 19 seconds left in the opening quarter. The Trojans went on another 3-0 scoring spree in the second period and Queens responded with a two-point goal with one second left in the quarter by senior Derek Ellingson to make the score 6-3 at the half.
USC pulled away in the third period, scoring the next five goals and coasting the rest of the way. Leading scorers for the Trojans were senior Simun Cimmerman, senior Mateo Jurie and Daniels, with three popints apiece. TYop scorers for Queens were Ellingson and junior Andre Doria with two points each.
USC had an outstanding performance from sophomore goalie Rich McEvoy, a local Florida product from nearby Pembroke Pines, who had 10 blocks in three periods of action.