Nikola Vavic Punches In Another National Player Of The Year Award
Feb. 14, 2014
In keeping with the set of six consecutive national championships that the USC men's water polo program has hauled in, the Trojans have landed six players on the list for 2013 All-American honors from the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches. Leading the charge for the USC contingent once again is Nikola Vavic, who has now claimed back-to-back honors as National Player of the Year. The senior is the second Trojan to pick up a pair of the top honors in his career. Vavic is joined on the All-America First Team by junior Kostas Genidounias, while the rest of the All-America honor roll is comprised by Vavic's fellow seniors. Mace Rapsey and James Clark have been selected as Second Team All-Americans, with Jeremy Davie on the Third Team and Connor Virjee earning Honorable Mention. All but Virjee are repeat All-American honorees, giving this 2013 crew a set of 17 total All-American selections. What's more, Vavic, Rapsey, Davie and Virjee all finish their Trojan careers with a full set of four NCAA championship rings.
Senior driver Nikola Vavic, who was named the MPSF Player of the Year this season just before the Trojans made their run to the 2013 NCAA Championship to finish off an unprecedented sixth straight national crown, now follows up his 2012 National Player of the Year award with honors as the 2013 National Co-Player of the Year. He once again is a finalist for the Peter J. Cutino Award, going along with this back-to-back National Player of the Year award. One of six Trojans to have earned the distinction overall, Vavic is just the second Trojan to win it twice, following J.W. Krumpholz, who was a 2009 and 2010 winner. This year, Vavic became USC's all-time leading scorer in finishing with 254 career goals. Vavic passed up 2005-06 Cutino Award winner Juraj Zatovic thanks to his 81 goals scored this season -- just two off of the record-setting mark of 83 that Vavic provided in 2012 when he was first named National Player of the Year. Also named to the All-MPSF First Team, NCAA All-Tournament First Team and MPSF All-Tournament Team this season, Vavic now holds status as a four-time All-American, adding these back-to-back First Team selections to Second Team honors in 2010 and a Third Team pick as a freshman in 2010. Vavic shares the National Player of the Year award this season with Pacific's Balazs Erdelyi.
Vavic has had a familiar face alongside him on many of those honor rolls in the past three years. Junior Kostas Genidounias is also a finalist for the Peter J. Cutino Award this season, and now holds a place as a First Team All-American. He was an Honorable Mention recipient as a freshman in 2011 and earned Second Team honors last season. With one season still remaining at Troy, Genidounias could well wind up knocking Vavic off as the all-time leader next year. He scored in every game this season, finishing up with 79 goals to sit just behind Vavic on the scoring list in 2013. He climbed the all-time ladder to No. 5, holding 178 career goals after this season's body of work. Genidounias' 79 goals scored this year is the fourth most in a single season in program history. Genidounias, too, picked up a place on the All-MPSF First Team, NCAA All-Tournament First Team and MPSF All-Tournament Team this past season.
Senior Mace Rapsey completes his Trojan career as a three-time All-American. One of three Australian seniors on the roster, Rapsey and his fellow Aussies James Clark and Jeremy Davie all boast significant All-American status. Rapsey was the undisputed warrior of the team this season, fighting through injury to provide his team with the scoring and solid defense that was his trademark. En route to this 2013 Second Team All-American selection, Rapsey was picked to the All-MPSF First Team this year. As a sophomore, Rapsey picked up All-American Honorable Mention, and he'd upgrade that to a Second Team All-American selection in 2012. As a senior, Rapsey was the team's fourth leading scorer with 47 goals to finish with 123 in his Trojan career, ranking him No. 20 all-time in career scoring at Troy.
Also landing Second Team All-American status in his final season as a Trojan is senior goalie James Clark. A 2012 Olympian with Australia, Clark came to USC and picked up First Team All-American honors in 2012. This past season, Clark made the biggest stand of his Trojan career in the 2013 NCAA title match, bowing out of his final season as an NCAA champion with a career-high 17 saves. With 263 saves collected in 2013, Clark hauled in the second most single-season saves in USC history, just five away from the all-time high of 268 set by Andrew Tinseth in 1993. Also this season, Clark was named to the All-MPSF Second Team and was on the MPSF All-Tournament Team. He averaged just under 10 saves per game in his senior year.
One of three four-time All-Americans in this batch of honorees, senior Jeremy Davie In the 2013 NCAA title match, Davie notched his 129th career goal as a Trojan to finish up ranked No. 17 all-time. He again helped anchor USC to yet another NCAA Championship, notching a huge goal for the Trojans in the 2013 NCAA title match to also record his 129th career goal as a Trojan and finish up ranked No. 17 all-time. He scored 30 in this past season, while also earning All-MPSF Honorable Mention and a spot on the NCAA All-Tournament Second Team. In his stellar Trojan career, he twice earned All-American Honorable Mention (2010 & 2012) and was a Second Team All-American as a sophomore in the lead-up to this season's final selection as a Third Team All-American.
There's no doubt that senior Connor Virjee went big for the Trojans in his final season. Determined to help his team make history with a sixth straight NCAA Championship, Virjee emerged as USC's third leading scorer, striking 49 goals in 2013 to finish up his time at Troy with 94 career goals. This season, Virjee was an MPSF Player of the Week, going on to earn All-MPSF Honorable Mention and a spot on the NCAA All-Tournament Second Team. Now holding All-American Honorable Mention, Virjee completes his USC career with high honors in accompanying his fellow Trojans with 2013 All-American status.
National Co-Player of the Year