Courtesy: USC Athletics
DAVIS, CALIF. — The No. 1 USC men’s water polo team got 10 goals on the day from redshirt senior Jacob Mercep to help power up the Trojans to two more wins at the Aggie Roundup in Davis, Calif. Mercep was one of four Trojans to tally a hat trick in an 18-6 win over No. 14 Santa Clara to open the day. He’d then match his USC best of seven goals — five during an eight-goal USC scoring surge — as the Trojans topped host No. 8 UC Davis this afternoon. The two wins improve USC to 7-0 overall.
USC scored the first three goals of the game to establish its position against Santa Clara, although the Broncos would battle back to within one. The Trojans answered with another three-goal rally to close out the first half, as USC led it 6-2 at the break. The Trojan offense would fully awaken from there, sizzling in six goals in the third and then six more in the fourth. The goals started piling up thanks to a four-goal surge from four different Trojan scorers. In that balanced rally, Carson Kranz, Marcus Longton, Max Miller and Jacob Mercep combined to build out a 10-3 USC advantage. With a comfortable lead duly crafted, USC scored six straight in the fourth while redshirt sophomore goalie Blake Jackson worked his way to hist first 10-save effort as the Trojans locked down a final 18-6 victory. Four Trojans — Mercep, Longton, Kranz and Tony Nardelli — would hit hat tricks in that effort.
Against the host Aggies in the afternoon the Trojans turned the tide on a tie game with an eight-goal explosion in the second half. Jacob Mercep scored five in that onslaught, almost single-handedly carrying USC to victory. USC averaged around two goals a minute in that rally, which turned a 4-4 lockup into a 12-4 lead early in the fourth. Hannes Daube delivered the capper with a heroic turn and finish in front of the cage before UC Davis broke its six minutes of scoring silence. Mercep answered with his seventh goal of the game — equalling his USC career-high for single-game goals. Up 13-5, USC’s advantage was secure, and the Trojans rounded things out with a final 13-7 winning decision. Goalie Nic Porter hauled in 12 saves to help anchor the win, which improved the Trojans to a perfect 7-0. Porter’s 12-save effort climbed the senior to now rank No. 8 all-time in career saves with 524.
Next up for the top-ranked Trojans is another NorCal trip for action at the MPSF Invitational in Berkeley from Sept. 24-26.
– RS FR goalie Blake Jackson tallied his first double-digit save outing as a Trojan with his 10 saves in a complete game vs. Santa Clara.
– SR goalie Nic Porter recorded 12 saves vs. UC Davis to take over as USC’s No. 8 all-time goalie with 524 career saves.
– Now with 176 goals as a Trojan, RS SR Jacob Mercep has moved up to No. 6 all-time in career goals at USC, taking over the spot held by USC alum and current UC Davis head coach Daniel Leyson.
– Mercep’s seven goals vs. UC Davis matched his single-game career high as a Trojan.
– RS JR Bennett Winther tallied his first career multi-goal game with his two goals vs. Santa Clara.
– RS FR Tom McGuire tallied his first career multi-goal game with his two goals vs.UC Davis.
2021 AGGIE ROUNDUP (Schaal Aquatics Center | Davis, Calif.)
#1 USC 18, #14 Santa Clara 6
Sept. 18, 2021 | Davis, Calif.
USC 3 – 3 – 6 – 6 = 18
SCU 1 – 1 – 3 – 1 = 6
USC — Jacob Mercep 3, Marcus Longton 3, Carson Kranz 3, Tony Nardelli 3, Bennett Winther 2, Max Miller, Hannes Daube, Chris Sturtevant, Chris Agliozzo.
SCU — Carter Reeves, Jake Taylor, Billy Barry, Nicky Fontes, Bennett Stafford, Zach Fales.
SAVES: Blake Jackson (USC) 10, Chase Zamborelli (SCU) 10.
#1 USC 13, #8 UC Davis 7
Sept. 18, 2021 | Davis, Calif.
USC 3 – 1 – 7 – 2 = 13
UCD 2 – 0 – 2 – 3 = 7
USC — Jacob Mercep 7, Hannes Daube 2, Tom McGuire 2, Jake Carter, Wyatt Barker.
UCD — Logan Anderson, Ben Fleming, Spencer Towill, Aleix Aznar Beltran, Michael Platino, Connor Norton, Holden Neach.
SAVES: Nic Porter (USC) 12, Aaron Wilson (UCD) 7, Duncan Creed (UCD) 0.