No. 2 USC Eclipses LMU 19-7|
Oct. 23, 2014
WESTCHESTER, CALIF. -- The No. 2 USC men's water polo team was a force to reckon with on the offensive end throughout and got downright stingy on defense in the second half of play as the Trojans rang up a 19-7 win over No. 18 host LMU today in Westchester. The Lions scored the first goal of the day, only to see the Trojans fire back and eventually muster up a seven-goal surge well out of reach of their hosts. Four Trojans finished with at least three goals, paced by Kostas Genidounias' four-goal outing to creep the senior ever closer to the No. 1 all-time career scoring spot, now 15 goals shy of the top mark. The nonconference victory lifts USC's overall mark to 17-3 as the Trojans return home for a Saturday MPSF clash against No. 8 Pacific at 1 p.m. in a rematch of the 2013 NCAA Championship game.
It was an early LMU 5-meter penalty shot that put the Lions in position to take the first lead of the game, converting just two-and-a-half minutes into the match. The Trojans responded with back-to-back 6-on-5 attacks to steal back a lead they would not relinquish. USC would score five straight to build a 5-1 lead, but the Lions manufactured the next two in cutting it down to a two-goal margin early in the second. LMU's Milutin Mitrovic was the provider for the Lions in that stretch, accounting for the first three LMU scores. The Trojan defense found a solution for Mitrovic and generated four consecutive goals to bast back into a more comfortable lead, up 9-3 as four different Trojans knocked in goals during the run. The Lions would find a few more chinks in USC's defensive armor before the frame was done, however, netting three goals in the last half of the period. Kostas Genidounias set up scores for two more teammates before the half, feeding Lachlan Edwards and Nick Bell to keep USC rolling, and the Trojans held an 11-6 lead at the break.
With six goals allowed in the first half, USC's defense was on notice, and the Trojans responded. The Lions were silenced in the third period of play, while Genidounias, James Walters and Nick Bell each scored their third goals of the day. Walters' third was on a feed from Lazar Pasuljevic to make it 13-6 USC, and Walters returned the favor on the Trojans' next possession. Pasuljevic's crosscage skipper bumped USC up to a 14-6 lead, and a big McQuin Baron save helped set up a Bell counterattack finish on a setup from Genidounias to round out a 15-6 USC advantage entering the fourth frame.
There, Ben Goncharenko stepped into the cage for the Trojan cause, and USC's lead continued to grow. USC made it a seven-goal run with repeat performances from Edwards, Matteo Morelli and Genidounias before the Lions broke their silence with a long-range skip shot. Grant Stein would have the final word for the Trojans, whipping in a goal to wrap the day as a 19-7 USC victory.
The Trojans now return home to Uytengsu Aquatics Center to await a visit from No. 8 Pacific. The Tigers and the Trojans will tangle in a rematch of the 2013 NCAA Championship game at 1 p.m. on Saturday (Oct. 25).
#2 USC 19, #16 Loyola Marymount 7