Aussie Trojans Finish Games With Win Over USA
Aug. 12, 2012
The waters in London have finally settled out after a wildly competitive stretch of Olympic men's water polo. Three Trojans had helped their teams advance out of group play to the quarterfinals, but tough losses left them out of reach of the podium. Today (Aug. 12), Australian Trojans Joel Dennerley and James Clark faced USC grad Shea Buckner and Team USA in the seventh-place game in London. With Dennerley manning the cage with authority for the Aussies, Australia built a lead and held off the USA for a 10-9 winning finish to his first Olympic Games.
To do so, Dennerley had to face his Trojan teammate from USC's 2008 and 2009 NCAA Championship teams in USA's Buckner. Clark, Dennerley's backup goalie on the Australian team, will join the Trojan roster as a newcomer in 2012, and did not play in today's seventh-place game. A defensive player for the U.S. team, Buckner played nine minutes in today's match. All three Trojans were making their first Olympic appearances in 2012. Up 5-3 by halftime, Australia would work its way out to hold four-goal advantages at several points in the second half. Team USA made a late surge but couldn't catch the Aussies by the final buzzer.
In today's seventh-place win, Dennerley added four key saves to his total for the Games to finish out with 51 saves in his first Olympics. That effort puts him at a 7.3 saves-per game average in London.
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.
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.