Men's Water Polo
    Nikola Vavic Named Finalist For Cutino Award

    Nikola Vavic is in line for the Heisman Trophy of water polo -- the Peter J. Cutino Award.

    Dec. 13, 2012

    Junior Nikola Vavic has already had a hand in extending USC's national championship streak out to five in a row. Now, he is making it a ninth straight year with a Trojan in the running for collegiate water polo's highest honor, the Peter J. Cutino Award. Vavic's first career selection as a finalist for the prestigious award follows USC's most high-powered offensive year, in which Vavic set the record for single-season scoring with 83 goals. His historic outburst broke a scoring record that had stood since 1988.

    Now, Nikola Vavic is in line to potentially tally USC's fourth Cutino Award in five years. He follows in the footsteps of goalie Joel Dennerley's victory last year, and back-to-back honors by J.W. Krumpholz after USC's 2008 and 2009 national championships. Vavic, who now ranks No. 4 all-time in career scoring at USC with a season still to go in his Trojan experience, has been tabbed as a 2012-13 Cutino Award finalist along with UCLA's Josh Samuels and Pacific's Balazs Erdelyi.

    Vavic was the all-around engine of USC's offense, serving up a team-high 65 assists to go along with his 83 goals. He scored in every game for the Trojans, and went biggest with a nine-goal game that set a new single-game record at USC. When not helping drive the USC offense, Vavic also proved a stubborn defender, hauling in a team-high 43 steals.

    The extensive honor roll that Vavic built up in his first two seasons as a Trojans has ballooned further, as well. He picked up his third straight spots on both the NCAA All-Tournament First Team and the MPSF All-Tournament Team, in helping the Trojans win both titles in 2012. Vavic also notched another place on the All-MPSF First Team, and earned a pair of MPSF Player of the Week accolades in his junior campaign, which he opened up as an Player to Watch. Vavic certainly proved worth watching in 2012. The winners will be announced at the 14th Annual Cutino Awards Night Dinner to be held Saturday June 1, 2013, at The Olympic Club's City Clubhouse located at 524 Post Street in San Francisco.



    The award is given annually in honor of the late Peter J. Cutino, the former University of California Berkeley and The Olympic Club coach, who passed away in September 2004. Mr. Cutino is in the U.S. Water Polo Hall of Fame. He won "Water Polo Coach of the Year" 17 times. He led UC Berkeley to eight NCAA National Championships. In his career Mr. Cutino also coached in the Olympic Games, the Pan American Games, the Water Polo World Championships and the World University Games.

    USC's string of Cutino Award finalists are: Juraj Zatovic (2003-04 & 2004-05), Juan Delgadillo (2005-06), Adam Shilling (2007-08), J.W. Krumpholz (2009-09 & 2009-10), Joel Dennerley (2010-11 & 2011-12), Nikola Vavic (2012-13).

    All-time Peter J. Cutino Award winners:
    1999 - Bernice Orwig (USC)
    2000 - Aniko Pelle (USC) & Sean Kern (UCLA)
    2001 - Coralie Simmons (UCLA) & Sean Kern (UCLA)
    2002 - Brenda Villa (Stanford) & Tony Azevedo (Stanford)
    2003 - Jackie Frank (Stanford) & Tony Azevedo (Stanford)
    2004 - Moriah Van Norman (USC) & Tony Azevedo (Stanford)
    2005 - Natalie Golda (UCLA) & Tony Azevedo (Stanford)
    2006 - Lauren Wenger (USC) & Juraj Zatovic (USC)
    2007 - Kelly Rulon (UCLA) & John Mann (Cal)
    2008 - Courtney Mathewson (UCLA) & Tim Hutten (UC Irvine)
    2009 - Kami Craig (USC) & J.W. Krumpholz (USC)
    2010 - Kami Craig (USC) & J.W. Krumpholz (USC)
    2011 - Annika Dries (Stanford) & Ivan Rackov (California)
    2012 - Kiley Neushel (Stanford) & Joel Dennerley (USC)