No. 1 USC Streaks Over To Inland Empire Classic
Trojans set up for another four-game weekend as they aim to keep rolling through 2013 competition.
Sept. 12, 2013
USC Water Polo Release
The top-ranked USC men's water polo team is on the prowl for another winning weekend as the Trojans head to the Inland Empire Classic to take on four more foes. The defenders of five straight national championships will look to add to their 35-game win streak during action in Pomona and La Verne this weekend. On Saturday (Sept. 14), USC (4-0) will take on No. 10 UC San Diego at 1:30 p.m. followed by a 2:45 p.m. clash with Pomona-Pitzer at the Sagehens' home pool. On Sunday (Sept. 15), USC will move over to La Verne to face Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at 11:30 a.m. before playing Whittier at 2 p.m.
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THE LAST MEETING
September 15, 2012
Palo Alto, Calif.
THE LAST MEETING
October 25, 1998
San Diego, Calif.
THE LAST MEETING
September 6, 2008
San Diego, Calif.
THE LAST MEETING
November 6, 2010
McDonald's Swim Stadium
USC has been ranked No. 1 in the nation since Nov. 9, 2011. The Trojans opened 2013 right where they left off, ranked atop the preseason poll for the third straight season. USC remains at No. 1 this week. Of the Trojans' opponents on tap this weekend, only No. 10 UC San Diego is nationally ranked.
USC got a running start to its 2013 campaign as the owners of five straight national titles cruised through four opponents at the Triton Invitational. USC kicked things off with a 19-5 win over Cal Baptist before delivering a 21-7 win over LMU. Fifteen different Trojans tallied goals that first day, including the first of their careers for Nick Bell, Charlie McBee and Jon Walters. The next day in La Jolla, USC displayed a ferocious offensive onslaught in two more wins, as USC amassed 50 goals in wins over No. 12 Air Force (23-2) and Redlands (27-4). Fifteen Trojans again got to the back of the net in that days work. The Trojans now hold a 35-game win streak that dates back to 2011. Nikola Vavic led the way in scoring on the weekend with 14 goals, followed by nine apiece from Kostas Genidounias, Connor Virjee and Jon Walters. Four other Trojans scored six over the weekend, including Jeremy Davie, who, along with Genidounias, cracked the career top-100 with their weekend's effort. Davie now ranks No. 28 all-time at USC with 105 career goals, and Genidounias is now up to No. 26 with 108. Nikola Vavic, too, climbed higher in the record books, now ranked No. 3 all-time with 187 career goals -- four away from taking over the No. 2 spot and 34 from the top.
WORKING ON A SIX-PACK
USC has played in the NCAA championship game nine times in the past decade. Seven national titles have come during that span. But it isn't just a place in the final that USC is aiming for. No, for 2013 the Trojans have only one mission. USC has won five consecutive titles, and the Trojans can make more history in extending that streak to six this season. No collegiate water polo team has won more than five crowns in a row. USC matched Cal's then-record three-in-a-row by beating the Bears in their home pool in 2010. In 2011, the Trojans etched their place in history with a fourth straight in beating UCLA. And in 2012 USC defended its own pool and beat the Bruins in the final again to stretch that streak to five. Now, the Trojans are looking to pick up a sixth. Stay tuned!
USC's NCAA championship streak began before this incoming freshman class started high school. So although the 2013 Trojan newcomers haven't experienced winning a national championship firsthand -- yet -- they certainly are familiar with the culture of winning that has been built at Troy. Every other member of the USC roster has at least one NCAA championship ring in his trophy case. The senior class of six Trojans, meanwhile, have accumulated 16 rings among them. Five of those seniors -- Jeremy Davie, Zach Lucas, Mace Rapsey, Nikola Vavic and Connor Virjee -- along with redshirt juniors Rex Butler and Max Hurst-Mendoza were true freshmen in 2010 when USC grabbed its third straight title. Senior goalie James Clark, meanwhile, has never experienced a loss as a Trojan. He began his USC career in the cage last season, when the Trojans rolled to a perfect 29-0 record
Senior Nikola Vavic and junior Kostas Genidounias combined for a whopping 151 goals last season. Vavic set the USC record for single-season scoring with 83 goals in 2012, while Genidounias hit the No. 5 all-time mark with 68 goals. In all, four of USC's top five scorers from 2012 are back. Mace Rapsey and Jeremy Davie provided 30 and 29 goals, respectively, last year. Zach Lucas, Rex Butler, Connor Virjee and Marc Vonderweidteach delivered at least 10 goals in 2012.
Nikola Vavic entered 2013 in the books ranked No. 4 all-time in USC scoring history. After one weekend of work, Vavic has taken over the No. 3 spot, now with 187 career goals. That puts the senior 34 goals away from taking over the No. 1 spot, occupied by Juraj Zatovic, who scored 220 goals in his four seasons at Troy. Also having officially made their marks in the USC charts are senior Jeremy Davie and junior Kostas Genidounias, who broke through the 100-goal threshold last weekend to rank No. 28 and No. 26 all-time, respectively.
The Trojan roster again boasts three standout players from Down Under. Goalie James Clark was a 2012 Olympian alongside former Trojan goalie Joel Dennerley. Clark earned All-American status in 2012, while his fellow Aussies Jeremy Davie and Mace Rapseyearned repeat All-American accolades. As key members of the past three runs to NCAA glory, Davie and Rapsey have combined for 175 goals in three seasons of work. Clark averaged 10.1 saves and 6.3 goals against per game in his debut season with the Trojans last year.
GET YOUR STREAK ON
USC's current win streak is up to 35 in a row, dating back to late 2011 when the Trojans won their fourth straight NCAA title. The last longest streak held by USC was a 36-game run from 2008-09, but the program record win streak stands as a 44-game stretch that spanned 2005-06. The longest men's water polo win streak is held by Stanford with 51 in a row (1985-87).
USC rolled undefeated through its 2012 campaign, winning its eighth MPSF Tournament title and going on to claim its eighth overall national championship with a dramatic comeback win to beat crosstown rival UCLA 11-10 in the Trojans' home pool. Head coach Jovan Vavic was named National Coach of the Year in leading the Trojans to a perfect 29-0 record for the second time in five seasons. National Player of the Year Nikola Vavic led a group of eight All-Americans, including seniors Matt Burton, Michael Rosenthal and Stephen Siri, juniors Jeremy Davie and Mace Rapsey and sophomore Kostas Genidounias. USC was ranked No. 1 from start to finish in 2012, with Nikola Vavicsetting a new USC with 83 goals scored in the season en route to being named a finalist for the Cutino Award. In all, the Trojan offense -- charged by 21 different scorers -- averaged 14.3 goals per game, while the defense again led the nation with just 5.9 goals against per game. USC outscored opponents 416-170 in 2012, marking the most goals scored in a year by the Trojans since at least 1983.
The 2013-14 academic year marks 125 Years of Athletics at USC. To celebrate this milestone in USC history, each home football game will be a Reunion Weekend to recognize the accomplishments of the great teams, athletes and coaches of the past. USC water polo's Reunion Weekend is scheduled for Nov. 16, when USC men's water polo hosts Stanford at Uytengsu Center. All reunited Trojans are also invited to an Athletes Pre-Game Picnic before being honored at the USC football game vs. Stanford that same day at the Coliseum. For more information for interested alums, visit usctrojans.com/reunions.
125 YEARS OF GREATNESS
Since fielding a football team in 1888, USC has had an unparalleled athletic tradition, including 120 national team championships, an unprecedented 419 Olympians and 52 NCAA Postgraduate Scholars as the Trojan family celebrates its 125th anniversary this 2013-14 academic year. Including the USC women's soccer team's historic 2007 NCAA Championship victory, USC boasts a grand total of 120 national team championships, including a national-best 82 men's NCAA crowns. Trojan men have won more individual NCAA titles (309) than those from any other school, while the Women of Troy have added another 69 individual NCAA titles. Four Trojans have won the prestigious Sullivan Award as the nation's top amateur athlete. Two Women of Troy athletes have won the Honda Cup as the top collegiate female athlete of the year and there have been 15 Honda Award winners as the top female athlete in their sport. USC not only has more Olympians than any school, but more Olympic medalists (287) and gold medalists (135). USC water polo is a big part of that Olympic tradition, having sent 10 Trojans to the 2012 Olympics in Beijing, with four Trojans winning medals. Thanks in part to USC's water polo participants, a Trojan has won a gold medal in every summer Olympics since 1912. Go to usctrojans.com/125 to revisit the athletic highlights for Trojans the past 125 years. •