Trojans Top MPSF Coaches' Poll
Aug. 15, 2012
MPSF Press Release:
USC received seven of the eight possible first-place votes, collecting 63 points, in taking the 2012 MPSF Men's Water Polo Coaches' Poll. The Trojans have won an unprecedented four straight NCAA Championships in men's water polo, also coming off an unbeaten 8-0 conference regular season.
First-team All-MPSF juniors Jeremy Davie and Nikola Vavic (1.58 GPG) return, as do Matt Burton and Kostas Genidounias (1.48 GPG). The remaining two first-place votes went to defending MPSF Tournament Champion UCLA, totaling 56 points. Key returnees for the Bruins include seniors Josh Samuels (49 goals) and Griffin White (45 goals), the top two scorers last year.
All-MPSF senior and conference tournament Most Outstanding Player Matt Rapacz (6.88 GAA, 180 saves) headlines a group of three returning `keepers. California placed third in the poll with 48 points, one point ahead of fourth-place Stanford. The Bears return a trio of 2011 All-Americans in senior goalkeeper Justin Parsons (second team), junior attacker Collin Smith (honorable mention) and sophomore attacker Aleksa Saponjic (honorable mention).
The Cardinal, meanwhile, brings back reigning MPSF Newcomer of the Year and first-team All-American Alex Bowen, along with Forrest Watkins and Paul Rudolph. Bowen had 53 goals as a freshman, tying for second in the MPSF with 2.41 per game. In the middle of the pack came UC Santa Barbara, accumulating 31 points, a roster highlighted by all-conference and All-American Brian Shoemaker.
UC Irvine took sixth with 25 points, led by junior driver Mitch Wise, who earned All-America third-team honors and second team All-MPSF recognition last season. Wise scored 70 goals in 2011, tying for the most in the MPSF. Pepperdine picked up 23 points for seventh, followed by Long Beach State and Pacific, who totaled 16 and 15 points respectively.
Opening weekend to the 2012 season is September 1-2, as California, UC Irvine, and UCLA hosts tournaments. MPSF competition begins September 23, as Cal visits USC with a live broadcast on ESPNU. The Trojans serve as this year's host for both the MPSF Tournament (Nov. 23-25) and NCAA Tournament (Dec. 1-2).
Rank Team Points (1st-Place) 2011 Team Record; 2011 MPSF Finish/Postseason 1 USC 63 (7) 24-3 Overall; 8-0 MPSF #1/NCAA Champion 2 UCLA 56 (2) 24-5 Overall; 6-2 MPSF #3/MPSF Champion 3 California 48 22-4 Overall; 7-1 MPSF #2/MPSF Semifinal 4 Stanford 47 19-7 Overall; 5-3 MPSF #4/MPSF Semifinal 5 UC Santa Barbara 31 16-12 Overall; 3-5 MPSF #5/MPSF Quarterfinal 6 UC Irvine 25 17-12 Overall; 2-6 MPSF #6T/MPSF Quarterfinal 7 Pepperdine 23 12-14 Overall; 2-6 MPSF #6T/MPSF Quarterfinal 8 Long Beach State 16 16-10 Overall; 1-7 MPSF #9 9 Pacific 15 13-13 Overall; 2-6 MPSF #6T/MPSF Quarterfinal