LOS ANGELES, CALIF. — The No. 2 USC men’s water polo team turned up the heat and served up a 22-7 win over visiting No. 10 Pepperdine, marking the most Trojan goals scored against the Waves in program history. Two USC juniors — Marcus Longton and Chris Sturtevant — hit new career highs with five and four goals apiece, respectively, while senior Jake Ehrhardt scored four goals on his birthday. Goalie Nic Porter, meanwhile, drummed up 13 saves in the cage help lock down the well-rounded USC victory, which improves the Trojans to 2-0 on the year.
USC broke an early tie with a six-goal scoring surge to put Pepperdine on the ropes early, leading it 7-2 after eight minutes thanks in part to a first-frame hat trick from Longton. The Waves would manage late goals in the first two frames, but USC’s offensive onslaught just kept coming as the hosts led it 12-5 by the break. In the third, USC poured out the first four goals as Sturtevant and Ehrhardt worked their way into hat trick territory to build a 16-5 advantage. And while the USC offense clicked off goals, the defense certainly had a hand in feeding that Trojan attack. All the while, the USC defense allowed just two second-half goals by Pepperdine en route to the dominating 22-7 final count.
Next up for the Trojans is a journey to Claremont for two games at the Inland Empire Classic tomorrow (Sept. 12). The Trojans have a 9 a.m. tile set against Occidental first, followed by a 10:30 a.m. clash with host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps as USC looks to stay perfect and improve to 4-0 on the year.
– With three goals today, SR Jacob Mercep now holds 160 career goals to rank No. 9 all-time at USC.
– With a game-high five goals today, JR Marcus Longton beat his previous career high of three goals.
– JR Chris Sturtevant scored a career-high four goals.
– FR Jake Carter became the first true freshman to have a multi-goal game this season with his two goals today.
– Carter and Mercep each had a team-high three Mercep.
– USC’s 22 goals was the most ever scored against Pepperdine in program history (since 1979)
#2 USC 22, #10 Pepperdine 7
Sept. 11, 2021 | Uytengsu Aquatics Center (Los Angeles, Calif.)
USC 7 – 5 – 6 – 4 = 22
PEP 2 – 3 – 1 – 1 = 7
USC — Marcus Longton 5, Chris Sturtevant 4, Jacob Ehrhardt 4, Jacob Mercep 3, Jake Carter 2, Hannes Daube, Carson Kranz, Wyatt Barker, Tony Nardelli.
PEP — Nicholas Fichman 2, Nico Tierney, Sean Ferrari, Austin Smit, Balazs Kosa, Clay Kaneko.
SAVES: Nic Porter (USC) 13, John Claude Marco (PEP) 4, Justin Edward (PEP) 2.
CLAREMONT, CALIF. — The No. 2 USC men’s water polo team drummed up a victorious doubleheader today, making it three wins in under 24 hours for the Trojans. Following yesterday afternoon’s home victory over Pepperdine, USC hit the road for Claremont this morning to take on Occidental and host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps out at the Inland Empire Classic. By the time the Trojans rolled back to Los Angeles, 17 different players had scored goals and four USC goalies had capped up in the cage across the two wins today. USC beat Oxy 23-3 and CMS 16-5 to bump the Trojans’ 2021 record to an early 4-0.
The morning’s first matchup against Occidental featured hat tricks from senior Jacob Mercep and freshman Aidan Wattson as well as the USC debut for grad transfer goalie Kyle McKenney., who spelled Blake Jackson in the final frame. McKenney made six saves and gave up no goals in his eight minutes of action while USC poured out seven goals on the offensive end to help cap that 23-3 win over the Tigers. In all, 13 different Trojans scored in the victory, including freshman Joshua Waldoch’s first career tallies as a Trojan with his two-goal effort.
An hour or so later, USC splashed back down for more action in Claremont, taking on the host Stags. Along the way to a 16-5 win, 10 Trojans scored. For the fourth time in USC’s four official games, Mercep and Marcus Longton had multi-goal outings. Longton notched a hat trick, while Mercep was one of four Trojans with two goals. At the defensive end, senior goalie Nic Porter gave way to redshirt sophomore Garrett Allen in the second half, where Allen saw his first minutes as a Trojan and collected five saves in his debut.
USC has more road action ahead with a journey to the Aggie Roundup, hosted by UC Davis, next week (Sept. 17-18).
– Jacob Mercep climbed to No. 7 all-time in career scoring at USC with his five goals scored today, now with 165 career goals as a Trojan.
– Joshua Waldoch is the first USC true freshman this year to tally back-to-back multiple-goal games.
– Aidan Wattson’s hat trick vs. Occidental was the first by a USC true freshman this year.
– Grad transfer goalie Kyle McKenney made his first appearance as a Trojan today, with six saves and no goals allowed in the fourth period vs. Occidental.
– Redshirt sophomore goalie Garrett Allen made his USC debut today, making five saves in the second half vs. CMS.
AGGIE ROUNDUP (Davis, Calif.)
Fri., Sept. 17 — vs. San José State — 1 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 18 — vs. Santa Clara — 11:30 a.m.
Sat., Sept. 18 — at UC Davis — 4 p.m.
INLAND EMPIRE CLASSIC (Axelrood Aquatics Center | Claremont, Calif.)
#2 USC 23, Occidental 3
Sept. 12, 2021 | Claremont, Calif.
USC 4 – 4 – 8 – 7 = 23
OXY 0 – 2 – 1 – 0 = 3
USC — Jacob Mercep 3, Aidan Wattson 3, Chris Sturtevant 2, Carson Kranz 2, Jake Ehrhardt 2, Marcus Longton 2, Max Miller 2, Joshua Waldoch 2, Jake Carter, Hannes Daube, James Kolenda, Tony Nardelli, Grayden Reynolds.
OXY — D. Cruz, N. Fisher, K. Klein.
SAVES: Blake Jackson (USC) 7 [3 periods], Kyle McKenney (USC) 6 [4th period], Henry Grady (OXY) 9.
#2 USC 16, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 5
Sept. 12, 2021 | Claremont, Calif.
USC 5 – 4 – 6 – 1 = 16
CMS 0 – 2 – 1 – 2 = 5
USC — Marcus Longton 3, Jacob Mercep 2, Joshua Waldoch 2, Chris Agliozzo 2, James Kolenda 2, Chris Sturtevant, Wyatt Barker, Tom McGuire, Alexander Lansill, Carson Kranz.
CMS — C. Thornton 2, K .Ballack, L. Korol, A. Wraith.
SAVES: Nic Porter (USC) 8 [1st half], Garrett Allen (USC) 5 [2nd half], Noah Smith (CMS) 1, Aiden Nettekoven (CMS) 6.