No. 3 Trojans Post Commanding 10-6 Win Over No. 2 Cal Under the Lights|
Oct. 29, 2016
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The No. 3 USC men's water polo was firing on all cylinders in tonight's key rematch against No. 2 California. Under the lights at Uytengsu Aquatics Center, the Trojans shined bright, sparked by a four-goal outing from Matteo Morelli and a 17-save effort from goalie McQuin Baron to drum up a resounding 10-6 win over the visiting Golden Bears. The win avenges USC's only loss of the season -- a defeat at Cal's home pool last month -- and improves the Trojans to 18-1 overall and to 2-0 in MPSF play.
Matteo Morelli made his presence known early with a ripper to open up the scoring three minutes into the game. Cal and USC would trade scores for the next eight minutes as the Golden Bears forced three lockups on the scoreboard. But after Blake Edwards earned a 5-meter penalty shot for the Trojans, Morelli stepped up and delivered his second goal, sparking a three-goal surge that proved the difference in the game. On a USC 6-on5 chance next, Bryce Hoerman hit Matt Maier for a blast that padded USC's lead to 5-3 with 1:42 to go in the second frame. That would hold until halftime, but USC added to its lead in the third. On another USC power play, Thomas Dunstan found Edwards for an impressive strike that made it 6-3 Trojans. No three-goal lead ever seems safe, however, and the Bears soon woke up from their slumber and registered back-to-back goals to close the gap back to one. Dunstan would issue a booming field block against Cal's next 6-on-5 opportunity, and USC was off to the races again. Morelli laced in an unbelievable lob shot to make it 7-5, then hit Lachlan Edwards for a searing score out of set to make it 8-5. That score marked Edwards' 100th career goal, making him the fourth Trojan this year to join the 100-goal club at USC. A slider from Cal cut it to 8-6 at the close of the third, but USC went on complete lockdown after that.
While saves and steals kept coming for the Trojan defense, Cal was rendered scoreless for the last eight minutes of play. Meanwhile, Morelli had another goal left in his tank as he finished off a cross from Lachlan Edwards with authority to make it 9-6 early in the fourth. Then, Morelli returned the favor, hitting Edwards for the slam dunk at the post on a USC 6-on-5 to make it 10-6 Trojans. That advantage would stand up until the final buzzer, as the USC defense shut down Cal the rest of the way to close out a huge 10-6 victory over the visiting Golden Bears to avenge USC's only loss and step out to a 2-0 MPSF record.
The Trojans will stay home for next week's action, as San Jose State comes to town for a 1 p.m. nonconference matchup on Sunday (Nov. 6) at Uytengsu Aquatics Center.
#3 USC 10, #2 California 6