USC Misfires In MPSF Semifinal, Falls To UCLA 6-3|
Nov. 21, 2015
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. — The No. 4 seeded USC men’s water polo team nailed the goal frame plenty, but struggled to get to the back of the net in today’s semifinal bout against top-seeded UCLA in the MPSF Tournament at Uytengsu Aquatics Center. The 6-3 loss to the Bruins puts the Trojans in the third-place game tomorrow (Nov. 22) at 3 p.m. against No. 2 seed Pacific.
The game opened up in a stalemate until UCLA got on the board with a 6-on-5 strike with 4:31 on the clock in the first. USC’s power play opportunities, however, would go awry in the first period of play, while UCLA was able to rattle in a goal off the post to take a 2-0 lead. A Grant Stein steal and a Lachlan Edward field block would squelch back-to-back UCLA power play chances as the Trojan defense was able to stand tall, but USC could not break through at the other end of the pool. In the second frame, USC again came up empty offensively, and UCLA converted on a counterattack to take a 3-0 lead at halftime.
USC’s offensive woes extended until deep into the third. Meanwhile, UCLA made the most of its chances with the ball in Bruin hands. A UCLA 6-on-5 and an even blast bumped the Bruins up to a 5-0 lead, and then a 5-meter penalty shot got UCLA a hefty 6-0 advantage with 2:02 on the clock in the third. With 1:26 to go in the frame, USC finally got on the board. James Walters hit Grant Stein for a counterattack bullet that breathed some life into the Trojan game.
In the fourth, the USC defense dug back in, opening up with a power play stuff from goalie McQuin Baron to help feed the USC attack. Mihajlo Milicevic would double the Trojan count with a slider to the low left, and it was 6-2 with 4:45 left to play. UCLA snuffed another Bruin power play next, and then Milicevic would dump a pass in to Mac Carden in the hole. The senior let loose a sweeping score out of set to nudge the score to 6-3 with 3:48 remaining. But USC wouldn’t creep any closer. The Trojan defense continued to stymie the Bruins, but the UCLA defense also held strong down the stretch as the game wrapped as a 6-3 loss for USC.
The Trojans will now face No. 2 seeded Pacific in the MPSF third-place game tomorrow (Nov. 21) at 3 p.m. at Uytengsu Aquatics Center. At 4:30 p.m., UCLA will play No. 3 seed California in the MPSF championship game. Both games will be televised on Pac-12 Bay Area and Pac-12 Los Angeles.
For more information and to access scores, stats and live stream links, go to MPSF TOURNAMENT CENTRAL
2015 MPSF TOURNAMENT (Uytengsu Aquatics Center)
SAVES: McQuin Baron (USC) 7, Garrett Danner (UCLA) 10, Alex Wolf (UCLA) 0.