No. 3 Trojans Whip Up 16-6 Win Over No. 7 Gauchos|
Oct. 16, 2016
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. — The No. 3 USC men’s water polo team manufactured a five-goal scoring rally to put visiting No. 7 UC Santa Barbara out of reach in the first half before tightening up its defense in the second to lock down a 16-6 win over the Gauchos today at Uytengsu Aquatics Center. Blake Edwards scored three goals for the Trojans during that crucial five-goal surge and later tacked up the final goal of the half. That last strike by Edwards registered the junior’s 100th career goal as a Trojan, making him the 33rd USC player to join the 100-goal club at Troy. The scoring would settle down in the second half while the USC defense went on lockdown, shutting out UCSB in the fourth to finish out the win and take the Trojans to a 15-1 overall record.
UC Santa Barbara had clearly come to play today in going toe-to-toe with the Trojans in the first 10 minutes of play. The Gauchos struck on their first two possessions to force USC to play catchup. Matteo Morelli and Lachlan Edwards had an answer for those early UCSB scores, and then Thomas Dunstan rifled in a go-ahead goal for the Trojan cause. Twice more, UC Santa Barbara would level the score, equalizing at 4-4 early in the second period for a wakeup call that the Trojans would finally heed. Zach D’Sa broke the game open with a near-impossible score to make it 5-4. He’d follow that up with a counterattack finish off a feed from Nick Bell next, and USC was off to the races. Blake Edwards had warmed up in the first frame with his opening goal of the day and then he got right back to work. Three straight goals came next from the Aussie as he kept USC’s scoring rally intact to a 9-4 Trojan advantage. UCSB would break up the run next, but the Edwards brothers would have the last words of the half. Dunstan issued his fourth assist of the half in a setup to Lachlan Edwards at center in the final minute of the half, and then Blake Edwards finished off USC’s final play of the half with a nifty lob that made it 11-5 Trojans and notched his 100th career goal.
The second half would largely play out as defensive battle. USC goalie McQuin Baron stepped up for a pile of saves in the second half as he finished out the game with 10 stops in the cage. James Walters would interrupt the Gaucho gameplan with several steals, and the Trojans would give up just one trickling goal in the second half of play. Meanwhile, three Trojans joined the scoresheet while Dunstan nailed his second goal and D’Sa put the finishing touches on a hat trick for himself. For the 15th game this year, USC shut out its opponent in at least one period of play. This time the Trojans left their defensive shutout to the final frame, and USC turned a 13-6 advantage into a 16-6 final score by the final buzzer.
USC’s next competition takes the Trojans to Long Beach next week for a nonconference clash against the 49ers at 1 p.m. on Saturday (Oct. 22).
#3 USC 16, #7 UC Santa Barbara 6
SAVES: McQuin Baron (USC) 10, Liam Linehan (UCSB) 11.