USC Wins Third Straight NorCal, Hosts Cal on ESPNU

Nikola Vavic, USC

Nikola Vavic, USC

Sept. 17, 2012

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USC WINS THIRD STRAIGHT NORCAL, HOSTS CAL ON ESPNU

USC (8-0 Overall, 0-0 MPSF) Nikola Vavic served up four goals for the Trojans in the NorCal Tournament Championship, leading a third straight title at the event. He finished the weekend with 12 goals, maxing out with four in a 7-6 win over UCLA in the finals. Vavic now leads the MPSF in scoring average (3.25 GPG). USC also ousted Pomona-Pitzer (22-1), Pepperdine (9-4), and host Stanford (10-9, OT) on the weekend. Combining for the last six NCAA Titles, the Trojans host Cal in the MPSF opener Sunday (Sept. 23) at 1pm, with live TV coverage on ESPNU.

UCLA (11-1 Overall, 0-0 MPSF) recorded its best start to a season since 1996, while reaching the NorCal Tournament Championship game. The Bruins defeated Concordia (16-5), Pacific (9-4) and California in overtime (11-10). Josh Samuels delivered a 10-goal weekend, and true freshman Danny McLintick had scored in his first nine collegiate games prior to the Pacific contest. Loyola Marymount visits on Friday (Sept. 21).

STANFORD (3-1 Overall, 0-0 MPSF) reigning MPSF Newcomer of the Year Alex Bowen scored 11 goals as the NorCal Tournament host Cardinal went 3-1 and took third to begin their season. After scoring six times in wins over Santa Clara (19-1) and UC Santa Barbara (8-7) Saturday, Bowen added five goals Sunday, including a hat trick in the third-place, 9-8 win over Cal. Stanford is off until the SoCal Tournament (Sept. 29-30).

CALIFORNIA (7-2 Overall, 0-0 MPSF) Junior Collin Smith scored four goals in the third-place game vs. Stanford, though the Bears' rally fell short at the end. Cal defeated UC Irvine, 14-7, and Air Force, 19-2, on the tournament's first day. Aleksa Saponjic scored a hat trick in the semifinal vs. UCLA and first round vs. Air Force. The Bears open MPSF play at top-ranked USC Sunday. Smith ranks the second in the MPSF in scoring average (3.22 GPG).

UC IRVINE (10-1 Overall, 0-0 MPSF) junior Bojan Hrlec scored 10 goals at the NorCal Tournament as the Anteaters went 3-1 and finished fifth. He scored the game-winner with 29 seconds left in the second overtime period to give UCI a 12-11 decision over No. 5 UC Santa Barbara in the fifth-place game. Hrlec and Mitch Wise lead the conference in goals scored (32). UCI also defeated UCSD (11-8, OT) and Pacific (11-10) at Stanford.

UC SANTA BARBARA (8-2 Overall, 0-0 MPSF) Junior Evan Dellinger posted a hat trick, with the last of his three goals coming with five seconds left in regulation to force overtime, though the Gauchos fell to UC Irvine (12-11) for sixth-place. UCSB picked up a pair of wins in the NorCal, defeating UC Davis (11-4) and Pepperdine (8-4). Next up is a neutral site game against Concordia Sunday at USC.

PEPPERDINE (5-2 Overall, 0-0 MPSF) split four NorCal games, with wins coming against Long Beach State (10-8) and Pacific (11-7) in the seventh-place game. Bence Valics totaled 62 weekend saves (15.50 SPG), including 21 against the 49ers. Stephen Loomis combined for 10 tournament goals, four vs. the Tigers, a game in which the Waves closed on a 6-0 run. Pepperdine has an exhibition home game Saturday, before the SoCal on Sept. 29-30.

PACIFIC (1-3 Overall, 0-0 MPSF) Junior Balazs Erdelyi combined for 11 goals, including a career-high six on Sunday vs. UC Irvine, as the Tigers opened their season with an eighth-place finish at Stanford. Junior goalkeeper Alex Malkis combined for 42 weekend saves, 13 vs. UCI. Pacific defeated LMU, 9-7, in its season opener. The Tigers compete in the UC Davis Tournament this week, facing Cal Lutheran, Redlands, Claremont, and La Verne.

LONG BEACH STATE (9-1 Overall, 0-0 MPSF) Spencer White accumulated 10 goals, while Dan Matulis added eight in four NorCal games, as the 49ers posted three wins. They took out Pomona-Pitzer (16-5), UC Davis (10-9) and Loyola Marymount (9-7) in the ninth-place game. The 49ers are off until hosting Navy on Sept. 27.

NIKOLA VAVIC MPSF/KAP7 PLAYER OF THE WEEK

USC junior Nikola Vavic (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA/Loyola HS) served up four goals for the Trojans in the NorCal Tournament Championship, and leading a third straight title at the annual event. He finished the weekend with 12 goals, maxing out with four in a 7-6 win over UCLA in the finals. Vavic leads the MPSF in scoring average (3.13 GPG) and is 21st all-time at USC with 116 career goals. ...Also Nominated: Bence Valics (PEP); Josh Samuels (UCLA); Bojan Hrlec (UCI); Alex Bowen (STAN); Balazs Erdelyi (PAC)