Trojans Add Strong Group For 2012
July 23, 2012
As the USC men's water polo team sets its sights on adding to its historic stretch of national titles, the four-straight champs have bulked up their roster with another set of talented student-athletes. Headlining the crew coming in for 2012 is Australian James Clark, who is just days away from his debut as an Olympian. Clark is the backup goalie to recent USC grad Joel Dennerley, who also is a first-time Olympian as a member of the Australian team in London this summer. Clark is joined by a group of nine U.S. players who are lined up for their first years as Trojans, USC head coach Jovan Vavic has announced.
"We're very excited to have this group coming in," Vavic said. "They're going to add to our depth."
With the graduation of four-time NCAA champs and All-American captains Joel Dennerley and Peter Kurzeka, USC has some big shoes to fill on both ends of the pool. Clark -- who has been training alongside Dennerley for the London Games -- joins fellow Trojan Aussies Mace Rapsey and Jeremy Davie on the USC roster this year. Northern California product Peter Simon also comes in as an anticipated addition to the USC gameplan. A driver, Simon was a second team All-American as a senior out of St. Francis High in Mountain View, Calif.
"Simon is a smart and crafty player," Vavic said. "He's very good in scoring and in assisting. He's very knowedable for a young player and understands the game really well.
"Clark is a blue-chip player," Vavic added. "He's an exceptional goalie who is actually taller and longer than Joel. He's very hard to score on because he's huge in the cage. He has good work ethic and is very mentally tough. He's going to be an impact player in the NCAA immediately."
The rest of the 2012 incoming class is a blend of California talent from up and down the coast. Simon has three fellow Northern Californians in Aaron Lim, Phoenix Pelstring and Luke Felton. Lim is a lefty out of Mountain View High, who Vavic says is "one of the better players in NorCal, and a good shooter." Goalie Pelstring hails from Santa Cruz High, bringing a defensive anchor into the mix, as Vavic says, "We desperately need another goalie, and Pelstring has a great opportunity to play for us." Vavic cited Felton's build as a highlight of the Jesuit High product, calling him a "lanky, good swimmer."
From the Southern California area, Vavic adds five more players -- largely drivers for his plan of attack. Hailing from Palos Verdes High are Liam Burke and Charlie McBee, whom Vavic praises as a "fast player" and an "excellent outside shooter," respectively. Two Newport Harbor High products -- Ryan Fowler and Park Eddy -- are also on the list to join the Trojans. Vavic calls both players "scrappy drivers" who were teammates on Newport Harbor's recent league championship team. Kyle Furniss, meanwhile, is a "soldier" by Vavic's description who brings another set of skills as a driver out of Villa Park High.