MPSF Water Polo Results, Oct. 5

Matteo Morelli, USC (Photo by John McGillen)
Oct. 5, 2017

USC 11, Long Beach State 9 (OT)

Recap by USC

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The No. 1 USC men's water polo team emerged victorious in its first overtime game of the season, topping visiting No. 7 Long Beach State with key goals in OT to finish off an 11-9 win at Uytengsu Aquatics Center. The 49ers had erased a three-goal USC lead to equalize late in regulation and force overtime. There, the Trojans regrouped with clutch scores and big saves from goalie McQuin Baron -- who collected 18 overall -- to hold off the 49ers for the home win. USC is now 17-1 overall.

USC never trailed in the game, but had to fight off three equalizers by Long Beach State in the first three periods. The Trojans punched up a 2-0 lead in the first on 6-on-5 strikes from Matt Maier and Bryce Hoerman, only to see LBSU score two out of the gates in the second, leveling it at 2-2. Another USC power play saw Marko Vavic find James Walters for the go-ahead blast to go up 3-2, but USC misfired on its next two 6-on-5 chances while Long Beach State got the final word of the half with a shot that skidded through to make it 3-3 just before the break. In the third, Walters came up with the rebound off a 49er 6-on-5 save, and the senior promptly deposited the ball through to make it 4-3 Trojans. A booming field block from Zach D'Sa squashed a LBSU power play next, and then USC got a boost with a Marin Dasic slam off a cross from Lazar Pasuljevic for a 5-3 advantage. Again, LBSU would claw back, netting a 6-on-5 score and then a 5-meter penalty shot to lock it up at 5-5. In the final minute of the third, though, Grant Stein found Dasic for a rocket and another USC advantage, up 6-5 entering the fourth frame.

There, USC made it a three-goal surge in following up Dasic's second goal with a laser from Blake Edwards to cap off a power play, then a sweeping power move from Lachlan Edwards off a feed from Thomas Dunstan. That had USC looking to be in the driver's seat with an 8-5 lead with 4:19 left in regulation. But Long Beach State was far from done. Keegan Wicken delivered his fourth and fifth goals of the game for the 49ers during a three-goal rally. His fifth came on a skipper with 1:34 on the clock, snarling the match at 8-8. Neither team would break through in the final stretch, bringing up overtime for the first time for the Trojans this season.

Baron hauled in a huge save against an early LBSU power play to kick off the first OT frame. At the other end, Vavic earned a 6-on-5 for the Trojans, with Matteo Morelli finding Maier for his second score of the day to make it a 9-8 USC lead with just four seconds left. To start up the second OT period, Blake Edwards nabbed a steal and Vavic wound up walking the ball in and unleashing a ripper to the low corner to take the Trojans ahead 10-8 with 1:22 on the clock. LBSU fired right back, scoring just seven seconds later to make it a one-goal margin, but USC's defense proved up to the task. Baron put up a stop that got USC the ball back with 26 ticks to go. As the clock wound down, Stein let fly one last shot before the buzzer to secure the win as an 11-9 final for the Trojans.

Next up for USC is a trip to UC Santa Barbara to face the Gauchos at 12 p.m. on Sunday (Oct. 8).