USC's Kostas Genidounias Named National Player of the Year|
Feb. 3, 2015
For the fourth year in a row and the sixth time in the past seven seasons, USC reigns supreme with a Trojan tabbed as National Player of the Year. Senior Kostas Genidounias has picked up honors as the 2014 National Player of the Year from the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches, joined by a group of six other Trojans who have earned their first-ever All-American status. Also a finalist for the Peter J. Cutino Award and now a four-time All-American, Genidounias wrapped his senior season as USC's all-time leading scorer, having helped the Trojans to four NCAA title matches and three national championships during his tenure. This past season, USC defied the odds and reached the NCAA final, relying heavily on the experience of its few seniors and the fresh talent of its young roster. The 2014 All-American honor roll reflects that balance, with three USC freshmen and one sophomore on the list to join three seniors. Genidounias tops the list with a spot on the All-American First Team. Senior Rex Butler and freshman McQuin Baron have locked in on the Second Team, with senior Marc Vonderweidt on the Third Team. Earning All-America Honorable Mention, meanwhile, are sophomore Nick Bell and freshmen Mihajlo Milicevic and James Walters.
As National Player of the Year, Kostas Genidounias becomes the seventh Trojan ever to win the award. In all, USC boasts nine such honors, with two back-to-back winners in that mix. Genidounias' All-America First Team pick marks his second straight selection there, following Honorable Mention as a freshman and Second Team honors as a sophomore. This season, Genidounias also was named the MPSF Player of the Year while grabbing a third consecutive All-MPSF First Team award. As a senior in 2014, Genidounias was near unstoppable in his efforts to help USC turn heads and power back into a 10th consecutive NCAA title match. His four goals -- including the sudden-death winner -- in the 2014 NCAA Semifinal victory over Stanford were all epic blasts. In the NCAA play-in game the previous weekend, Genidounias had officially locked his place as USC's all-time leading scorer, and he just kept adding to the count in his final games. The Trojans would come up just short of the national championship, taking second place with a one-goal loss, but Genidounias' impact on the USC program still shines through. His 82 goals scored in his senior year is the second most ever by a Trojan in a single season. And his 261 career goals sets a new record at Troy.
The rest of the All-American honorees from USC are all first-timers. A Second Team All-America selection in his final season, Rex Butler also grabbed his first career conference honors in 2014 on the All-MPSF Second Team. He was the team's second leading scorer with 47 goals, bumping his career total up to 116 to rank No. 25 all-time at Troy. He joined Genidounias on the NCAA All-Tournament First Team for his work in helping the Trojans reach the final.
Freshman goalie McQuin Baron had some big shoes to fill in the cage in following a string of All-American goalies. The 6-9 freshman proved up to the challenge, stringing up a program record 288 saves in 2014. He'd secure a spot on the NCAA All-Tournament Second Team in his first trip to the tourney, and also claimed All-MPSF Honorable Mention along the way. With his Second Team All-America status, Baron matches the work of the most recent USC freshman goalie to make a splash at Troy. Australian Olympian Joel Dennerley, too, was a Second Team All-American in his freshman campaign at USC. This season, Baron averaged a whopping 10.87 saves per game and allowed just 6.94 goals-against per game.
A relatively unsung hero for the Trojans, senior Marc Vonderweidt deservedly picks up the first award of his USC career. Vonderweidt became a force of nature for the Trojans as his senior season unfurled, and his NCAA championship experience shined through in the postseason, all but cementing his Third Team All-America award. Vonderweidt scored 11 of his total 33 season goals during the postseason for the Trojans. Four goals scored during the MPSF Tournament was followed by a seven-goal explosion during the NCAA Tournament. His two huge goals in the NCAA semifinal upset of Stanford were huge, and he'd deliver two more clutch goals in the final as well. In all, Vonderweidt's 33-goal senior season wraps his time at Troy with 68 career goals.
USC's youth movement is well-represented on the All-America Honorable Mention list. Sophomore Nick Bell and freshmen Mihajlo Milicevic and James Walters were crucial impact players for the Trojans in 2014. In his second season as a Trojan, Bell overcame injury and whipped in 25 goals, picking up All-MPSF Honorable Mention and an MPSF Player of the Week selection along the way. He'd score three important goals at the NCAA Tournament to secure a place on the NCAA All-Tournament Second Team, where he was also joined by freshman Milicevic. That was Milicevic's first career honor as a Trojan, though he now can boast status as an All-American as well. MIlicevic scored 27 goals for USC as a freshman, four of which came during the NCAA Tournament. Fellow freshman James Walters shouldered a hefty load in his first season at Troy. The two-meter man would pump in 34 goals in 2014 to stand as the team's fourth leading scorer en route to a spot on the All-American honor roll.
USC's 2014 All-American honorees are listed below. Complete awards list available here.
National Player of the Year