MPSF Champs Land Three On All-Tournament Team|
Dec. 3, 2013
Following USC's impressive run to its ninth MPSF Tournament title, three Trojans were named to the 2013 MPSF All-Tournament Team. Senior Nikola Vavic topped the group with honors as the Tournament MVP, joined on the All-Tournament Team by fellow Trojans Kostas Genidounias and James Clark, the MPSF announced today.
That Trojan trio were driving forces for a determined USC squad, which came into the MPSF Tournament as the No. 4 seed in dire need of a strong performance in order to earn a place at the upcoming NCAA Championships where the Trojans are aiming for a sixth consecutive national championship. But first, USC had to impress -- and win -- at the MPSF Tournament. The No. 4 seeds opened up with a 12-9 win over No. 5 California to advance to the semifinals, where the Trojans faced top-seeded host Pacific. USC was ready to battle the Tigers and racked up an overpowering 18-13 upset win to move into the title match. There, the Trojans were up against No. 2 seed Stanford, which had beaten USC with an overtime buzzer-beater in the teams' last meeting. USC was on its game once again, leaving the Cardinal out of reach with a 10-8 win that rolled up the championship and the automatic ticket to the NCAA Tournament.
MPSF Tournament MVP Nikola Vavic led the Trojans in scoring in each game, pinning up hat tricks against Cal and Pacific and adding two more against Stanford to finish the tourney with eight goals. That bumped the senior's season total up to 75 -- fifth most in USC history. He's already No. 1 on the USC career scoring leader board, now with 248 career goals.
Junior Kostas Genidounias was USC's second leading scorer at the 2013 MPSF Championships, serving up six goals on a hat trick vs. Cal, a pair against Pacific and one more in the title match against the Cardinal. He remains USC's top scorer this season with 76 goals -- fourth most in USC program history. Genidounias stands as USC's No. 5 all-time leading scorer with 174 career goals, needed just four more to move into a tie at No. 4 all-time.
Senior goalie James Clark was a veritable wall for the Trojan defense, going biggest with a career-high 16 saves in the title match. He posted double-digit saves in every game at the tourney, notching 12 against Cal and then 11 more against Pacific before that career day against the Cardinal. His 233 saves this season is the fifth most in program history.
The Trojans are now prepping for battle at the 2013 NCAA Championships held this weekend in Palo Alto. The top seed in the tourney, USC takes a spot in the semifinals at 1 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 7) against either UC San Diego or St. Francis Brooklyn -- whichever team wins their Thursday play-in game. The Trojans are aiming to become the first collegiate water polo team in history to win six consecutive national championships. The 2013 title match will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday (Dec. 8) at Stanford's Avery Aquatic Center.