Courtesy: USC Athletics
BERKELEY, CALIF. — The No. 3 USC men’s water polo team took a strong step into the MPSF Tournament semifinals in tacking up a 20-4 win over Augustana in today’s quarterfinals at Spieker Aquatics Complex in Berkeley, Calif. Tough Trojan defense nabbed 20 steals in the win, pairing with an offensive onslaught that saw Zach Bettino, Joshua Waldoch and Aidan Wattson each tally career-high scoring efforts. Bettino and Waldoch led with four goals apiece, and Wattson contributed a hat trick to help USC improve to 13-6 overall. The Trojans turn to face top-ranked UCLA in tomorrow’s semifinals.
Zach Bettino set the tone early for the Trojans in scoring back-to-back goals. Augustana converted a nice finish in front of the cage next, prompting the USC defense to tighten things up. The Vikings would come up empty for the next 16 minutes of action, while the Trojans piled up eight straight scores. Bettino punched up the first two of the second half, and then another Andrej Grgurevic steal helped set up Tony Nardelli for USC’s 10th goal of the day. Max Miller and Joshua Waldoch would follow Bettino’s lead and each score back-to-back goals before Aidan Wattson recorded his first multiple-goal game to top off the third as a 15-2 USC lead. Starting goalie Bernardo Herzer would give way to freshman Cooper Mathisrud for the second half, as the freshman took to the cage for the first time as a Trojan. He’d make three stops to back up the stingy USC defense in those 16 minutes, while three new Trojan scorers — Evan Ausmus, Carson Kranz and Grgurevic — got to the back of the net in the fourth to help round out the 20-4 win.
NEXT: USC turns to take on rival UCLA in tomorrow’s MPSF semifinals at 1 p.m. in Berkeley to fight for a spot in Sunday’s title match.
– With three goals today, RS JR Aidan Wattson recorded the first multiple-goal game of his USC career.
– With four goals today, FR Zach Bettino matched his career high.
– With four goals today, RS JR Joshua Waldoch matched his career high.
– FR Cooper Mathisrud made his debut in goal for USC, making three saves in the second half.
– With two goals today, SR Max Miller continues to lead USC in scoring, now with 34 goals this season.
– Miller also leads the team with 12 multiple-goal games this year.
– This was the first-ever meeting between USC and Augustana.
2023 MPSF TOURNAMENT
#3 USC 20, Augustana 4
Nov. 17, 2023 | Berkeley, Calif.
USC 4 – 3 – 8 – 5 = 20
AC 1 – 0 – 1 – 2 = 4
USC — Zach Bettino 4, Joshua Waldoch 4, Aidan Wattson 3, Jake Carter 2, Max Miller 2, Massimo Di Martire, Tony Nardelli, Evan Ausmus, Carson Kranz, Andrej Grgurevic.
AC — Tyler Leslie, Colin McDowell, Rhys Lomax, Alden Brinkmeier.