USC Streaks Through NCAA Semifinal To Make 12th Straight Trip To NCAA Title Match|
Dec. 3, 2016
BERKELEY, CALIF. -- The USC men's water polo team staked its claim on a 12th consecutive trip to the NCAA title match with a resounding 19-4 semifinal victory over Harvard today at Spieker Aquatics Complex in Berkeley, Calif. Now 24-1 overall, the top-ranked Trojans will carry a 16-game win streak into tomorrow's national championship bout, which is set for 3 p.m. on Sunday (Dec. 4) against host Cal. The Trojans are looking to capture the program's 10th national championship on the men's side.
USC opened up the first stretch with five straight steals while plugging in the opening goal with a rocket from Marin Dasic off a setup from Nick Bell. After that fifth steal, USC went the other way and got a freshman-to-freshman connection as Matt Maier found Thomas Dunstan for the nearside blast and a 2-0 Trojan advantage. Next, USC saw its third freshman drum up the Trojans' third goal with a ripper from Maier coming next to craft a 3-0 USC lead. The steals kept coming, and USC drilled out a 4-0 lead before the close of the first frame when Blake Edwards skimmed in a 6-on-5 finish off a pass from Grant Stein. The second quarter played out much like the first, as the Trojans kept stymying the Crimson while connecting on a string of six goals from six different USC scorers to build up to a 10-0 lead. At the close of the frame, the Edwards brothers connected for one last USC blast, as Blake Edwards found Lachlan Edwards at the post for a ripper that wrapped the half as an 11-0 USC lead.
In the second half of action, redshirt freshman Simon Wu checked into the cage to spell junior McQuin Baron, who had collected five saves in the first 16 minutes of play. The first blood of the second half was drawn by Dunstan, who tore side netting on a crosscage strike to ring up his third goal of the day. Next, Wu stepped up for a 6-on-5 save for the Trojan defense. Harvard would get on the board a bit later, though, finishing off a counterattack to make it 12-1. Wu would snuff Harvard's next counterattack opportunity, though, coming up with a big save to get the ball back in Trojan hands. The Crimson would convert on a power play later to make it 12-2, but Maier would hammer home a nearside skipper next to pump USC's advantage up to 13-2 in the final minute of the third.
In the fourth, USC juniors Lazar Pasuljevic and Bryce Hoerman got on the scoresheet with goals in the first two minutes of the frame. Up 15-2, USC saw Harvard strike back, but Pasuljevic plugged in his second soon after, making it a 16-3 USC lead with 4:50 left to play. USC and Harvard traded goals in the next short stretch as D'Sa tallied his second goal and Chase Koplow became USC's 11th scorer on the day. Senior Bell slung in his second goal next and then nabbed the steal at the other end to help the Trojans put the finishing touches on a 19-4 semifinal victory.
2016 NATIONAL COLLEGIATE CHAMPIONSHIPS