LONG BEACH, CALIF. — The No. 3 USC men’s water polo team forged a four-goal rally to take the lead from host No. 5 Long Beach State and stay there en route to a 13-9 Trojan victory over the Beach today. USC had three players — Wyatt Barker, Ashworth Molthen and Carson Kranz — net hat tricks in the win, while goalie Nic Porter hauled in 11 saves in the cage. The nonconference victory improved the Trojans to 13-1 overall.
USC was put on its heels for the first nine minutes of action as Long Beach State took the first lead of the game in a defensive first period. Luka Brnetic leveled it seconds later, but the Beach nudged ahead again with a goal on its first possession of the second. Again, USC found a fast answer, with Ashworth Molthen delivering a solo stinger to knot it at 2-2. That would serve as the spark for an offensive rally by the Trojans, who had Wyatt Barker earn and finish off a USC power play next. Carson Kranz hammered home a shot out of set soon after, and after Porter shut down a Long Beach State 6-on-5, Molthen found Barker for another 6-on-5 slam to make it a four-goal USC run to a 5-2 lead. The Beach went top corner a bit later, only to see Molthen set up Jake Ehrhardt for a rocket that had USC up 6-3 by halftime.
Barker went to work early again, nabbing a steal and then finishing off the counter himself to craft a 7-3 lead for USC and make it a hat trick for the grad student on the day. Porter squashed back-to-back Long Beach State attacks next, but the Beach would manage two goals in the next stretch to make it a two-goal game. Jacob Mercep would find Chris Sturtevant in the final minute of the third, and the junior sent in a sizzling cross cage bar-in blast to get USC some room again, up 8-5 entering the fourth. The final frame was a highly offensive affair as teams traded goals in the first two minutes. Molthen’s third of the day wrapped another Barker-earned USC 6-on-5, and then Molthen issued a booming field block to snub the Beach’s next power play chance. Kranz would strike next on a Trojan 6-on-5 to get USC its largest lead of the game, up 12-7 with 4:25 to go. He’d knock in his third a little later off a feed from Hannes Daube, and USC was well on its way to a solid win, finishing things out as a 13-9 Trojan victory in Long Beach.
– SR Nic Porter made 11 saves today, recording his 30th career game with double-digit saves and sixth such outing this season.
– With three goals today, SO Carson Kranz scored his second hat trick of the season.
– With three goals today, GS Wyatt Barker scored his third hat trick of the season.
– Barker also drew a game-high five exclusions today.
– With three goals today, JR Ashworth Molthen has now scored in six straight games.
– With two goals today, SR Jake Ehrhardt has now scored in seven straight games.
Next weekend, the Trojans get back to MPSF action with a trip to face Stanford at 1 p.m. on Saturday (Oct. 23) at Avery Aquatic Center.
#3 USC 13, #5 Long Beach State 9
Oct. 17, 2021 | Ken Lindgren Aquatics Center (Long Beach, Calif.)
USC 1 – 5 – 2 – 5 = 13
LBSU 1 – 2 – 2 – 4 = 9
USC — Wyatt Barker 3, Ashworth Molthen 3, Carson Kranz 3, Jake Ehrhardt 2, Luka Brnetic, Chris Sturtevant.
LBSU — Rafael Real Vergara 3, Alika Naone 2, Garrett Zaan 2, Theodoros Pateros, Aaron Arias.
SAVES: Nic Porter (USC) 11, Andrej Bosanac (LBSU) 5.