Nikola Vavic Named MPSF Player of the Year|
Dec. 3, 2013
Fresh off a powerful run to the 2013 MPSF Championship last weekend, the USC men's water polo team is eyeing a sixth consecutive national championship. The 2013 USC squad is anchored by a veteran core of talent, of which six Trojans have earned All-MPSF honors. Topping the class is USC's all-time leading scorer Nikola Vavic, who has been named MPSF Player of the Year. Joining Vavic on the All-MPSF First Team this year is junior Kostas Genidounias and senior Mace Rapsey. Senior James Clark has landed a place on the All-MPSF Second Team, with fellow seniors Jeremy Davie and Connor Virjee weighing in with All-MPSF Honorable Mention.
Vavic and Davie wrap up their Trojan careers as four-time All-MPSF honorees, while Genidounias is in line as a three-timer. Clark and Rapsey now have a pair of All-MPSF selections apiece, and Virjee has his first career All-MPSF pick in-hand with this year's honors.
Nikola Vavic and his dangerous left hand have tallied 75 goals for the Trojans this season to date, not to mention the plentiful assists that the senior has served up to his USC teammates. Also savvy when it comes to defensive steals, Vavic's all-around skill set has made him a lock as the MPSF Player of the Year this season. He follows in the footsteps of the last Trojan to be named MPSF Player of the Year, Joel Dennerley, who won the award in 2010 and 2011 -- Vavic's first two seasons at Troy. Now, Vavic is looking to replicate Dennerley's success in the form of a full set of national championship rings as he and the Trojans head into the 2013 NCAA Championships looking to win a sixth straight title. This year, Vavic has worked his way into the lead as USC's all-time top scorer, now with 248 career goals. His 75 goals this season is the fifth most in USC history, and he is coming off selection as the MPSF Tournament MVP last weekend. Vavic has scored in 29 of USC's 30 games, with multiple-goal outings in 21 games so far. An honorable mention recipient as a freshman, Vavic has now earned three straight All-MPSF First Team selections.
Junior Kostas Genidounias has grabbed his second straight spot on the All-MPSF First Team following honorable mention in his freshman season. Genidounias leads the Trojans in scoring this season with 76 goals -- fourth most in USC history -- and has climbed to rank No. 5 all-time in career scoring with 175 career goals. He's just four away from tying at No. 4 as he enters the 2013 NCAA Championships. Genidounias has scored at least one goal in 29 of USC's 30 games entering the tourney, with 25 multiple-goal games. He was selected MPSF Player of the Week on October 14 for his work in helping lead the Trojans to the SoCal Tournament championship.
Senior Mace Rapsey has had a banner year for the Trojans, having provided 47 goals so far this season to go along with his typical dominating defense. He's worked his way into the USC record books as well, now ranking No. 20 all-time in career scoring with 123 career goals. Rapsey has hauled in his first All-MPSF First Team pick, having earned honorable mention last season. One of three Australian seniors on the roster this year, Rapsey has scored in 21 games with 14 multiple-goal outings on the way into his fourth NCAA Tournament. Rapsey set a new career high with five goals scored against UC Irvine earlier this season.
In his second year as a Trojan, senior goalie James Clark has been USC's top gun in the cage, averaging 9.6 saves per game in accumulating 233 total saves this season. That count ranks Clark with the fifth most single-season saves in USC history as he and the Trojans look to defend a run of five straight national championships this weekend at the NCAA tournament. Clark has hit double-digit saves in the past four games for the Trojans, making it 12 games this year that the senior has had 10 or more saves. Clark was an All-MPSF First Team honoree last season and now adds an All-MPSF Second Team award to his honor roll with this year's pick.
USC's standout senior two-meter man Jeremy Davie has hauled in his fourth set of All-MPSF honors with his selection of All-MPSF Honorable Mention this season. Davie has punched in 27 goals to date for the Trojans, with scores in 17 different games and nine multiple-goal outings. He's been creeping up the USC all-time ladder since joining the Trojans as a freshman in 2010, and now hosts 126 career goals to rank No. 18 all-time in scoring at Troy. This year's honorable mention pick from the conference goes along with an All-MPSF Second Team selection in 2010 and All-MPSF First Team honors in 2011 and 2012.
Locking in with his first career MPSF honors is senior Connor Virjee, who has gone bigger than ever this year in standing tall as USC's third leading scorer this season. He's more than matched his previous career total as he has knocked in 49 goals this year to date, including a career day of five goals scored at UC Santa Barbara. That outing earned the senior his first pick as MPSF Player of the Week, helping to propel the powerful lefty to this year's All-MPSF Honorable Mention selection. Virjee has struck in 23 different games to date with 16 multiple-goal efforts.
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.
MPSF Most Valuable Player
All-MPSF Second Team