Joel Dennerley Makes More History
June 5, 2012
As if a historic four straight NCAA championships weren't enough, USC goalie Joel Dennerley has now collected one of the most esteemed awards in collegiate sports. The Australian native, who is now bound for his first Olympic Games, was honored the 2011-12 Peter J. Cutino Award -- the Heisman Trophy of water polo -- in a ceremony in San Francisco on June 2. Dennerley is the first-ever goalie to win the award on the men's side.
Absent from the award ceremony due to overseas training with the Australian Olympic Team, Dennerley was still well represented at the event. Teammate Michael Rosenthal accepted the award on Dennerley's behalf, and USC head coach Jovan Vavic was the keynote speaker at the award dinner.
A four-time NCAA champion with the Trojans, USC's 2011-12 Cutino Award recipient had been selected the 2011 National Player of the Year following his senior season at USC. Dennerley was one of three finalists on the men's side for this past season, joining last year's winner Ivan Rackov of California and UCLA's Josh Samuels on the list. Dennerley joins USC greats Juraj Zatovic and J.W. Krumpholz, who both claimed Cutino Awards following national championship runs with the Trojans.
The Australian native's contribution to the Trojan cause was wholly dominating, as he anchored USC to four consecutive NCAA titles during his Trojan career -- a historic achievement in the men's water polo world. Dennerley's laundry list of awards won at Troy is glowing, highlighted by four All-American selections and his place in history as the Trojans' all-time saves leader. In 2011, he became the fifth Trojan to be named National Player of the Year following Marko Pintaric (1998), Juraj Zatovic (2005), Juan Delgadillo (2006) and J.W. Krumpholz (2008 & 2009). Dennerley already stands out as the first Trojan to be named back-to-back MPSF Player of the Year after he helped anchor USC to an undefeated finish in the 2011 MPSF regular season.
Also in 2011, Dennerley ensured that the Trojans would be the top defensive team in the country once again as he averaged 9.2 saves per game and allowed just 5.4 goals per game down the stretch. That included a whopping 15 saves in the NCAA Championship game against UCLA, where Dennerley was named Tournament MVP as he and the Trojans dominated the Bruins to claim USC's fourth straight national championship.
He is next bound for London to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games as a member of the Australian Olympic Team, ensuring that USC will remain represented in the men's Olympic water polo field for the fourth consecutive Games.
The award is given annually in honor of the late Peter J. Cutino, the former University of California Berkeley and The Olympic Club coach, who passed away in September 2004. Mr. Cutino is in the U.S. Water Polo Hall of Fame. He won "Water Polo Coach of the Year" 17 times. He led U.C. Berkeley to eight NCAA National Championships. In his career Mr. Cutino also coached in the Olympic Games, the Pan American Games, the Water Polo World Championships and the World University Games.
All-time Peter J. Cutino Award winners: