STANFORD, CALIF. — The No. 4 USC men’s water polo team put together a powerful performance to beat rival No. 2 UCLA 9-4 in the Trojans’ final game at the Stanford Round Robin. Wyatt Barker unleashed three of his final four goals during the fourth period while the Trojan defense — anchored by Nic Porter’s 10-save performance — silenced the Bruins for the final eight minutes. The win improves USC to 4-7 overall and to 3-7 in MPSF play.
UCLA opened things with a goal to start the day, and the Bruins would lead it 2-0 by the close of the first. USC fired right back, however, as Porter squashed a couple UCLA power plays before Jake Ehrhardt got USC on the board and then Tony Nardelli leveled it 2-2 just before halftime. Nardelli hammered home a 6-on-5 score in the third to take the Trojans ahead 3-2, although UCLA got one its own to go next. UCLA converted a penalty shot next to take the lead, only to see the Trojans make their winning move next. Jacob Mercep found Barker for his first goal to snarl it up at 4-4 in the final minute of the third. Then Chris Sturtevant issued a blast just 9 seconds before the buzzer to take the Trojans ahead 5-4.
In the fourth it was all USC. Porter kept turning away the Bruins, making his loudest statement of his 10-save day with a soft against at Bruin 5-meter penally what with 5:45 on the clock. Barker had already taken USC ahead 6-4 by then, but he’d have two more huge blasts lying in wait soon after as he took the Trojans to an 8-4 lead with 2:32 to go. The last word of the day came from USC’s Orestis Apergi, who scored with two seconds left to top off a 9-4 USC victory over UCLA.
USC has a break next as the Trojans ramp up for competition at the MPSF Championship, set for March 6-7 at UCLA.
STANFORD ROUND ROBIN
#4 USC 9, #2 UCLA 4
Feb. 21, 2021 | Avery Aquatic Center (Stanford, Calif.)
USC 0 – 2 – 3 – 4 = 9
UCLA 2 – 0 – 2 – 0 = 4
USC — Wyatt Barker 4, Tony Nardelli 2, Jake Ehrhardt, Chris Sturtevant, Orestis Apergi.
UCLA — Mo Kenney 3, Ethan Shipman.
SAVES: Nic Porter (USC) 10, Bernardo Maurizi (UCLA) 12.