Joel Dennerley Doubles Up As MPSF Player of the Year|
Nov. 29, 2011
Joel Dennerley. Dennerley is also one of a record four Trojans to land on the 2011 All-MPSF First Team, joined by fellow senior Peter Kurzeka and sophomores Jeremy Davie and Nikola Vavic. It's the most Trojan all-conference first-teamers in USC history, and the grand total of honorees bumps to five with the selection of freshman Kostas Genidounias to the 2011 MPSF Honorable Mention list.
As the Trojans take aim at an unprecedented fourth straight national championship this weekend as the top seeds for the seventh consecutive time at the NCAA Championships, USC's five 2011 All-MPSF honorees look to lead the charge into the history books. Joel Dennerley is already locked in as USC's all-time career leader in saves, and has now become the first Trojan to earn two selections as the MPSF Player of the Year. The last player to earn back-to-back MPSF Player of the Year awards was Stanford's Tony Azevedo, who won four straight from 2001-04. Already a three-time All-American, Dennerley now is a four-time All-MPSF honoree after earning a second team spot as a freshman in 2008 and honorable mention in 2009 before laying claim to top honors in 2010 and 2011. Early this season, Dennerley became USC's all-time career saves leader with a career-high 19-save outing vs. UCLA in the NorCal Championship game on Sept. 18, eclipsing a 24-year stand by Kevin Stringer. Dennerley now holds 835 career saves entering the NCAA Championships -- his fourth trip to the tourney. He has been named MPSF Player of the Week eight times in his career, twice each season, and has played in 105 games in his four-year Trojan career on the way into this weekend's NCAA Championships in Berkeley, Calif. In four seasons to date, Dennerley has averaged 8.0 saves and 5.1 goals-against per game, and he leads the MPSF once again this year with a conference-best 5.52 goals-against average.
Also earning back-to-back spots on the All-MPSF First Team is two-time All-American senior Peter Kurzeka, who is also looking to hold up the championship trophy for a fourth straight year with the Trojans. Kurzeka stands as USC's top scorer this season with 38 goals to date, and also reigns supreme as a staunch defender for the Trojans. He's steadily climbed up the USC all-time scoring ladder after scoring his 100th career goal last season with the game-winner in USC's 2010 NCAA Championship win. He now stands at No. 11 all-time with 138 career goals to enter this year's 2011 NCAA campaign five goals away from breaking into the top-10. An All-American as a sophomore and a junior, Kurzeka earned his first All-MPSF accolades last year with a spot on the 2010 All-MPSF First Team. Recently named to the 2011 MPSF All-Tournament Team along with Dennerley, Kurzeka now has his second selection to the All-MPSF First Team with this year's honors. With six goals scored in a win this season, Kurzeka tallied the most goals scored by a Trojan in a single game since 2001.
Joining the two senior leaders on the 2011 All-MPSF First Team list are two Trojan sophomores to help fill out USC's record-setting class of first-teamers. Both Jeremy Davie and Nikola Vavic were all-conference and All-American picks last season as freshmen, and this year they've backed up that impressive young power as they again are helping lead USC's offensive charges. Two-meter man Davie is USC's third leading scorer with 28 goals, including six scored at the MPSF Tournament last weekend. Driver Vavic has scored in all but four games this year and is USC's No. 2 scorer with 36 goals after plugging in seven last weekend at the MPSFs. Last year, Davie was named to the 2010 All-MPSF Second Team, and Vavic received 2010 All-MPSF Honorable Mention.
Following in the footsteps of Davie and Vavic, freshman driver Kostas Genidounias has also made his mark in his first year at USC. He's locked in with 2011 All-MPSF Honorable Mention thanks to his powerful contribution to USC's efforts this season. Genidounias is even with Davie with 28 goals scored to date, despite being sidelined for several games by a midseason injury. Genidounias topped out with five goals scored against UCLA in the Trojans' first tangle with the Bruins this season -- a 10-8 USC win in the NorCal Tournament championship game.
The Trojans' push for a fourth straight national championship begins on Saturday (Dec. 3) with a 1 p.m. semifinal clash against Princeton. A win there would put USC within reach of its seventh overall NCAA title with a spot in a 3 p.m. championship match on Sunday (Dec. 4) out in Berkeley, Calif.