September 17, 2020
The men’s water polo team suffered its first loss Sunday afternoon at the hands of Stanford, 6-5, in the semifinal match at the Kap7 NorCal Invitational in Palo Alto, California.After being held scoreless in the first half and entering the break down 0-3, USC was able to make a comeback and entered the fourth period behind by only one goal, 4-3. They would eventually tie the game, but were ultimately unable to take the lead against the Cardinal, who pulled out the one-goal victory.With the loss, USC was forced to settle for the third place game, where they would take on Cal for the second consecutive year.In last year’s match, they fell to the Golden Bears, 11-10, giving them a fourth place finish. Results of the match were unavailable at press time.The Trojans got to the semifinal match by crushing their opening two opponents in the NorCal Invitational Saturday. USC has 27-3 and 12-4 wins over Redlands and UC Irvine, respectively.In their opening match of the tournament, the Trojans scored the 19 straight goals against Redlands while keeping them scoreless for the entire first half.Fifteen different Trojans scored in the game, including the first career goal for freshman Nick Lavayen. Redshirt freshman Chase Koplow led the scoring for USC with a career-high four goals, all coming in the third period. Redshirt senior Mac Carden followed close behind with a hat trick.USC then advanced to an afternoon match against No. 8 UC Irvine, during which they dominated its fellow MPSF rival.In the first period USC jumped out to a 6-1 lead on goals from six different players. UC Irvine fought back in the second period and the halftime score was a 6-3 lead for USC.From there, USC turned up the heat and was able to push through to a final score of 12-4. The lone goal that the Trojans allowed in the second half was during the third period.USC’s scoring was led by a hat trick from Luke Helton. Nine other Trojans scored single goals as well.Sophomore All-American goalie McQuin Baron had a successful Saturday with 16 saves, 14 of them coming in the second game against UC Irvine.After this weekend, the Trojans will get the chance to enjoy some home cookie, as they head back to Uytengsu Aquatics Center to host a three-game home stand against a trio of MPSF foes.They will face off against Long Beach State next Saturday, Sept. 26, and then will take on on Stanford and San Jose State the following weekend.