Men's Water Polo
    Trojans Buckner and Dennerley Make Olympic Debuts

    No. 5 as a Trojan, Shea Bucker wears cap No. 6 for Team USA.

    July 29, 2012

    Olympic debuts were the order of business today in London, England, for USC men's water polo players. Trojan grad Joel Dennerley was a force in the cage for Australia in the goalie's first Olympic appearance. Incoming Trojan James Clark serves as Dennerley's back-up for the Aussie squad, but Dennerley went the whole stretch in today's opener against Italy. For Team USA, USC grad Shea Buckner also debuted as an Olympian in a tense clash with Montenegro.

    Dennerley certainly impressed in goal, coming up with huge saves throughout the game - a strength the four-time All-American showed through four straight national championship runs as a Trojan. Despite a whopping 13 saves made by Dennerley, Italy would get the win in this one, however, with an 8-5 decision in the first match of group play. Dennerley, Clark and the Aussies next face Kazakhstan on July 31.

    Later in the day, Team USA took on a dangerous Montenegro squad in its first group play matchup. Buckner served up the assist on a key late goal by the United States, helping lift the U.S. squad to an 8-6 advantage in the final minute of play. That would be the clincher for an 8-7 win by the Americans, who also have former Trojan Olympian Robert Lynn on staff as an assistant coach. Team USA next faces Romania on July 31.

    Follow the Trojans in their pursuit of Olympic gold at

    SHEA BUCKNER • USA men's water polo
    A 2008 and 2009 NCAA Champion and a three-time All-American at USC, Shea Buckner is making his Olympic debut this year in London. His call-up to Team USA has taken him most recently to international appearances at the 2011 and 2012 FINA World League Super Finals as he now prepares to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games. Buckner played three seasons at USC, helping anchor the Trojans' undefeated finish in 2008, which kick-started USC's historic run to four consecutive national championships.



    JAMES CLARK • Australia men's water polo
    First-time Olympian James Clark has signed on to join the Trojans this coming season.

    JOEL DENNERLEY • Australia men's water polo
    A four-time national champion and the recipient of the 2011-12 Peter J. Cutino Award as the nation's top collegiate player in his senior season at USC, goalie Joel Dennerley is playing in his first Olympic Games. While anchoring USC's run to a historic four straight NCAA titles, Dennerley emerged as the Trojans' all-time leader in career saves. He is the first-ever goalie to win the Cutino Award on the men's side, and also claimed back-to-back honors as the MPSF Player of the Year -- also a first for a goalie. For his native Australia, Dennerley was called up to compete in the 2010 FINA World Cup and 2011 FINA World Championships and was recently named Australia Water Polo Inc.'s Male Player of the Year.