USC Starts At the Top in 2007, Season Opener on Saturday
Sept. 5, 2007
THIS WEEK: The Trojans open season on 2007 with a match-up against Loyola Marymount, kicking things off in the home waters of McDonald's Swim Stadium. USC and LMU are set to clash at 12 p.m. on Saturday (Sept. 8), giving the Trojans a chance to extend their home win streak to 23 straight. Undefeated at home since 2004, the Trojans boast flawless runs at McDonald's in 2005 and 2006 to hold a 22-game winning streak.
RANKINGS: The Trojans reign supreme as the nation's top squad as the 2007 season gets underway, stepping up last season's preseason pick of No. 2 to hold strong at No. 1 entering their season opener. LMU ranked No. 10 in the preseason national poll, but has moved to No. 12 in the first week's poll.
2006 RECAP: The Trojans made their second straight trip to the NCAA championship game, having ridden an undefeated regular season into the MPSF Tournament. USC was upended by Cal in the MPSF final, and was edged out in the final second of the NCAA championship game by the Bears, finishing 2006 with a 26-2 overall record.
LMU NOTES: No. 12 LMU started the season 2-2 after taking fifth place at the Triton Invitational, falling to UC Davis 7-6 and Pepperdine 10-4, while defeating Air Force 9-6 and Cal Baptist 21-7. Tim Heafner led the Lions with seven goals in the four games, and goalie Andy Stevens had 42 saves, including 13 against Pepperdine and 12 against Air Force.
TROJAN-LION RIVALRY: USC is 10-0 all-time against LMU, having picked up its latest win in a 12-4 road decision last season.
BACK FOR MORE: A year ago, eight USC newcomers were making their Trojan debuts. Those fresh faces saw a lot in their first year, helping push USC into the NCAA final. Now well-seasoned returners, those Trojans add their experienced talent to the 2007 charge. Plan on seeing plenty of dominant depth in the form of Trojans in their second year of action - Anthony Artukovich, J.W. Krumpholz, Justin Rappel, Matt Sagehorn, Nico Sardo, Gabor Sarusi, Jordan Thompson and Drew Vyn. Add to that the anticipated activation of Cal transfer Shea Buckner and the return of Trevor Clark, and the Trojans are geared up for a serious depth charge.
INTERNATIONAL WATERS: Six Trojans expanded their roles in the international water polo scene over the summer, spending the bulk of their time training and competing with the U.S. Junior National Team at tournaments in Europe and at the 2007 FINA Junior World Championships, where Team USA took sixth place. Anthony Artukovich, J.W. Krumpholz, Arjan Ligtenberg, Justin Rappel, Matt Sagehorn and Nico Sardo all were key members of the U.S. junior team. Krumpholz and Ligtenberg are also lined up alongside fellow Trojan Shea Buckner for double duty as members of the training roster for the U.S. Senior National Team.
SENIOR STRENGTH: Two-time All-Americans Tommy Corcoran and Adam Shilling are two of five seniors on the roster, joined by two 2006 transfers who made immediate impacts -- left-handed driver Drew Vyn and two-meter Gabor Sarusi -- and returning star Trevor Clark. Clark served up the game-winning goal for the Trojans in their 2003 NCAA championship as a freshman, and after battling injuries is working his way back in the pool for his senior season.
WELL-CENTERED: Trevor Clark is one member of USC's ferociously deep staff of two-meter men along with fellow senior Tommy Corcoran. Back in the center slot as well are U.S. Senior National teamers J.W. Krumpholz, Shea Buckner and Arjan Ligtenberg. That highly skilled group is bulked up by several more versatile centers with the ability to provide both offensive surges and defensive strongholds at set, namely Gabor Sarusi, Jovan Vranes, Jordan Thompson and freshman U.S. Youth National Team player Devon Borisoff.
NEVER BETTER: USC's 23-0 sweep through the 2006 regular season marked the first time since men's water polo became an NCAA sport in 1969 that the Trojans have gone undefeated in the regular season. USC went 5-0 in 1944 -- long before the NCAA recognized the sport. No NCAA team has posted an undefeated overall record since California went 31-0 in 1992.
HOME POOL DOMINATION: The home waters of McDonald's Swim Stadium have provided smooth sailing for USC for the past two seasons now. The Trojans finished off 2005 with a perfect 9-0 record at home, and they went 13-0 at home in 2006 to hold a 22-game win streak in their home pool.
STREAK SMARTS: OK... everyone is wondering where the Trojans' 44-game winning streak that spanned the 2005 and 2006 seasons stands. By hitting win No. 35 with its win over UCLA, the team passed up the USC football program's storied win streak, which was snapped in the 2005 national championship game just a month after the USC water polo team claimed the 2005 NCAA title. Water polo's 44-game run well overtook the program's previous best winning streak of 17 games, but it was still seven wins short of the all-time longest men's water polo winning streak in the country -- held at 51 by Stanford (1985-1987). At Troy, USC women's volleyball put up a 52-match winning streak across the 2002-03-04 seasons.