Men's Water Polo
    USC Men Sign Six For 2010 Campaign
    Back-to-back champ Jovan Vavic is making a push for another NCAA title.
    Back-to-back champ Jovan Vavic is making a push for another NCAA title.

    Feb. 23, 2010

    Proud and powerful owners of back-to-back NCAA championships, the USC men's water polo team is loading up for another strong season to come with the signing of a new class of talent. Head coach Jovan Vavic has announced the signing of six athletes to national letters of intent to join the Trojan roster for 2010. Those six signees are Riley Burke, Rex Butler, Zach Lucas, Paul Mitre, Jack Plaga and Nikola Vavic.

    "This is a very smart water polo group," Vavic said. "All these guys have been playing water polo for a long time, and every single one is a high school All-American."

    Riley Burke and Paul Mitre both hail from Palos Verdes High School, with Burke standing out as a shooter with size and Mitre proving a strong presence in the cage as the CIF Division IV Player of the Year.

    "Riley is 6-5 and very strong and has tons of experience," Vavic said of Burke. "Mitre is an outstanding goalie. He's very quick and he has a great amount of experience. His position is great in the cage and he's probably going to be the best passer in college water polo."

    Rex Butler will come to Troy from Coronado High School as a skillful lefty with first-team all-CIF honors to aid the Trojan attack next season. Joining him is another first-team all-CIF selection out of Newport Harbor High in Zach Lucas who boasts all-around ability to bring to USC.

    "Butler is arguably the best player from San Diego this year," Vavic said. "Butler and Zach are similar players. They're both very fast and are excellent shooters, and they have strong legs so they are good defenders."

    The Trojans have also added a power pair of players from Loyola High in Jack Plaga and Nikola Vavic, son of the Trojans' head coach. Plaga boasts skill as a two-meter defender for the Trojans, while left-handed Nikola Vavic has gained added experience as a member of the U.S. Junior National Team at the recent FINA Men's Junior World Championships.

    "Plaga is an excellent defender, and Nikola was the third leading scorer on the Junior National Team," Jovan Vavic said. "This is the beginning of what looks like to be an absolutely outstanding class for next season. The biggest thing about this class is their experience and knowledge of the game."