Water polo upsets No. 1 Stanford at Uytengsu
The Trojans’ next test will be two difficult road matches against No. 2 UCLA and No. 8 Cal as MPSF play continues. The two wins put the Trojans back on track after two straight single-goal losses against Pacific and Pepperdine. The upset over Stanford was especially important, giving USC a 1-0 start to conference play and the upper hand over the Cardinal in the MPSF. Offensively, the Trojans were aided by two hat tricks from drivers freshman Marcus Longton and senior Marin Dasic. Longton’s 3 goals also marked a career best, and his first two scores were important in shifting the momentum toward a Trojan team that fell behind 2-1 early on. Saturday’s game was characterized by standout performances on both ends of the pool. Although the Cardinal were able to get off 39 shots, sophomore goalie Nic Porter was on a roll, tallying a career-high 20 saves to consistently keep the Trojans in the game. “Our offense is incredibly strong,” Porter said. “We have unbelievable players on offense, so [we need to] put a few more scores on the board, and then conversely, try to stop [our opponent] from scoring as many.” “We had a couple of meetings, and the team responded well,” Pintaric said. “And that’s a big attribute to our seniors … They had that attitude to refuse to lose, and that’s what I like about this team: resilience.” The game was tight throughout, but the Trojans took a 3-goal lead into the fourth quarter. However, Stanford showed resilience, putting up 2 goals in the first three minutes of the period while holding USC’s offense scoreless. Head coach Marko Pintaric said he was happy to see his team shake off the last two losses. In the second period, the Trojans brushed off the 2-goal deficit and hit hard on offense. Sophomore driver Hannes Daube capitalized on a 6-on-5 drawn by senior two-meter Matt Maier to kick off a slew of USC scores in the second frame. Ehrhardt slammed a shot from way out to give the Trojans their first lead of the match, up 6-5 at the half. Hot off Saturday afternoon’s thriller, the Trojans looked to continue their momentum against SJSU. However, the Spartans were strong out of the gate, scoring 3 first-period goals while USC’s offense struggled to ignite. The Trojans scored just 1 goal in the first but had 10 shots that missed the net or were saved by SJSU. Sophomore goalie Nic Porter came up big with 20 saves Saturday against Stanford, shattering his previous career mark of 15. ( Yannick Peterhans / Daily Trojan) “Nic played unbelievable today,” sophomore 2-meter Jake Ehrhardt said following Saturday’s game. “Just to see him in-cage, every time he gets a block, he just hypes all of us up. From the first to the fourth quarter, he was on and that really just hypes us up when we see that.” From there, USC never trailed again. Porter’s vision of offensive dominance became a reality, as the Trojans had six multi-goal performers by the end of the game. Dasic posted another hat trick, while Longton netted 2 goals for a total of 5 on the weekend. As the offense lit up, the Trojan defense was also firing on all cylinders, especially in the fourth quarter. USC outscored SJSU 7-1 in the final period, transforming a close game into a 17-9 blowout within a single frame. Despite the strong offensive showings from Longton and Dasic, Porter said the Trojans will need to put even more points on the board to be successful in the remaining conference games this season. No. 7 USC men’s water polo capped off a perfect home record this season with two victories this weekend over No. 1 Stanford and No. 12 San Jose State. The Trojans achieved a narrow 9-8 upset over the Cardinal Sunday before trouncing San Jose State 17-9 Sunday. Although the Cardinal cut the Trojans’ lead to 1, they were unable to find the tying goal. Dasic scored his third goal of the game to give the Trojans a 2-goal lead with two minutes to go. By the time Stanford was able to score again, it was too late to mount an equalizing attack, and USC held for the victory.