Men's Water Polo
    No. 2 USC Kicks Off 2016 With Action At Triton Invitational

    Sept. 1, 2016

    THIS WEEK
    USC opens its 2016 campaign from the No. 2 spot in the national rankings. The Trojans’ path to a 12th consecutive NCAA final appearance will begin this weekend in La Jolla, as USC engages in a doubleheader opening day of action on Saturday (Sept. 3) in the Triton Invitational. The Trojans’ season opener pits them against No. 8 UC Irvine in an 8:20 a.m. faceoff on Saturday. That will be followed by a 12:20 p.m. clash against No. 17 Cal Baptist as the Trojans look to get a winning start to their 2016 season.

    RANKINGS
    USC opens the 2016 season in the same place it left off last season, holding strong at No. 2 in the nation after making 11 straight trips to the NCAA final and having claimed seven national championships during that run.

    ALL-AMERICAN ARSENAL
    For this 2016 season, USC welcomes back every one of its eight All-Americans, and only one of them — Nick Bell — is a senior. That means firepower, experience and daunting skill is available at every turn for the Trojans. In all, USC returns its top six scorers from 2015, including All-American honorees Blake Edwards, Grant Stein, Lachlan Edwards, Matteo Morelli and Bell, while defensive dangers Mihajlo Milicevic and James Walters and newly inked Olympian McQuin Baron also bring back their All-American talent to Troy for 2016. That crew of returning All-Americans accounted for 64 percent of USC’s offensive output. Top scorer Blake Edwards scored 68 goals all on his own, tallying the sixth most single-season goals scored by a Trojan. 

    OLYMPIC ENDEAVORS
    For the first time since 1958, USC has a roster studded with two returning Olympians. Junior McQuin Baron and freshman Thomas Dunstan both earned themselves trips to Rio de Janeiro last month as members of the United States Olympic Team. At those 2016 Games, Baron and Dunstan got to rub elbows with two Trojan greats — USC’s all-time top scorer Kostas Genidounias capped up for Greece, while USC’s all-time leader in saves Joel Dennerley was between the pipes once again for Australia. 

    POWER CLASS
    In his first season at Troy, Blake Edwards was USC’s top scorer. Now in his second season as a Trojan, he is a member of a ridiculously talented junior class. Fellow All-Americans Grant Stein, Matteo Morelli, James Walters, Mihajlo Milicevic and Lachlan Edwards are all now juniors, as are savvy scorers Bryce Hoerman and Lazar Pasuljevic. In fact, USC’s top four scorers in 2015 are all also classmates: the Edwards brothers, Stein and Morelli. 

    YOUNG GUNS
    USC’s youth movement remains solid. In their first season of work as Trojans, Chase Koplow and Zach D’Sa combined for 32 goals last year, and both were members of USC’s 2015 NCAA Tournament roster. That vital early experience should pay dividends for the Trojans, who have all but two members of that tournament roster back on active duty for 2016. USC’s seasoned veterans will be bolstered by a group of talented new Trojans. Clearly, 2016 Olympian Thomas Dunstan already brings in some serious credentials for his freshman campaign, but there are several other USC newcomers tabbed for duty in 2016 along with a few Trojans who redshirted last season. True freshmen Marin Dasic and Matt Maier will also factor into the USC gameplan, while redshirt freshmen Sam Slobodien and Daniel Leong join the field along with goalie Simon Wu, who will back up Baron in the cage along with freshman Will Rubschlager. Even more reliable talent in the Trojan pool comes in the form of redshirt junior Mitch Embrey, redshirt sophomores Tim Leong, Brock Hudnut and Murphy Slater, and redshirt freshman Daniel Leong, who round out the USC active roster for 2016.

    FAMILY TIES
    The Trojan roster boasts a lot of brotherly love this season. Two sets of brothers are in the mix, with four other brothers following in the footsteps of Trojan siblings. The Edwards brothers -(Blake & Lachlan) could be considered the bash brothers of the bunch, having combined for 85 goals to date. The Leong brothers (Tim and Daniel) also combine forces on the 2016 roster this year as a redshirt sophomore and freshman, respectively Four more Trojans are capped up for USC just as their older siblings have done. James Walters (brother Jon), Grant Stein (sister Michelle), Nick Silvers (sister Chelsea and brother Andrew) and Murphy Slater (sister Melanie) have all followed their family trees to Troy.

    FIGHTING ON FOR JON
    On Jan. 8, 2014, the Trojan Family lost a special member in the passing of USC freshman Jon Walters. At 19 years old, Walters was an NCAA Champion, beloved teammate and a Trojan warrior for the USC men’s water polo team. His loss has touched the Trojan Family and the water polo world deeply, and the USC water polo program continues to play with Jon in their hearts. As a first-year freshman 2-meter man, Jon Walters was a key contributor on USC’s 2013 NCAA championship men’s water polo team that won a sixth consecutive NCAA title in December. He scored 17 goals on the year, including two in the NCAA semifinal game and another two in the MPSF championship game, despite missing the middle part of the season with an elbow injury. A native of Newport Beach, he attended Mater Dei High School, where he was an All-American and the 2012 CIF Player of the Year. Jon’s younger brother James is now a junior at USC, coming off two seasons that saw the younger Walters earn All-American Honorable Mention. •

     
    THE LAST MEETING
    USC23
    Cal Baptist5
    September 5, 2015
    La Jolla, Calif.
    No. 2 USC Opens Season With Big Win In La Jolla
    The USC men’s water polo team got out of the starting gates with a bang today in posting a powerful 23-5 win over Cal Baptist in the Trojans’ season opener. A dangerously balanced offense and stubborn defense kept USC in total control of today’s contest, which gives the Trojans 1-0 start to their 2015 campaign. USC is in action at the Triton Invitational at the Canyonview Pool in La Jolla, Calif. this weekend.

    THE LAST MEETING
    UC Irvine8
    USC14
    November 8, 2015
    Uytengsu Aquatics Center
    No. 4 USC Scores 14-8 Senior Day Win Over No. 7 UC Irvine
    The No. 4 USC men's water polo team capped off its Senior Day celebration with a 14-8 victory over No. 7 UC Irvine. The win pulled the Trojans out of a two-game skid and puts them back on a winning track in MPSF action. Thanks in part to a four-goal game from Blake Edwards, USC cruised along to victory over the Anteaters today at Uytengsu Aquatics Center, improving to 18-4 overall and 6-2 in MPSF play. Before the game, USC honored its two graduating seniors, Gerrit Hill and Mac Carden, who finish up their Trojan careers this season.