- #2 USC def. #1 UCLA 8-7
- USC moves to 20-1, UCLA falls to 24-1
- Los Angeles, California
Rivalry games in all sports can bring unpredictable results, and the USC Trojans men’s water polo game pulled off an earth-shattering upset on Saturday over arch-rivals UCLA. The UCLA men, who had a perfect 30-0 season last year, had a 57-game winning streak coming into Saturday’s matchup, and that was snapped when they fell 8-7. That gives USC the top seed in the upcoming MPSF conference tournament.
Grant Stein and Lazar Pasuljevic picked up 2 goals each for USC, while All-American goalie McQuin Baron had 9 saves on 16 shots-on-goal, including 3 big stops early to set a defensive tone. UCLA’s Ryder Roberts led all scorers with 3 goals.
The difference’maker came from senior Blake Edwards with 38 seconds left, and a final Baron stop with 15 seconds left sealed the game.
Courtesy USC Athletics:
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. — In a crosstown rivalry matchup that certainly lived up to its billing, the No. 2 USC men’s water polo team put a stop to UCLA’s reign at the top of the MPSF and snapped a 57-game win streak held by the Bruins with an epic 8-7 win today in the Trojans’ home waters at Uytengsu Aquatics Center. UCLA had a one-goal advantage entering the fourth frame, but the Trojans were undeterred. USC would lock away the victory after goalie McQuin Baron knocked down one last save after a go-ahead goal from Blake Edwards in the final minute, securing a key victory for the Trojans. Now 20-1 overall, USC snakes the top seed for the coming MPSF Tournament as the Trojans look to make a 12th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.
The intensity of this rivalry clash was clear from the start. USC goalie McQuin Baron started off strong with three early saves to stymie the Bruins, only to see a 5-meter penalty shot from UCLA draw first blood in the game. UCLA would step out to a 2-0 lead next, but USC dug down deep for a response. Grant Stein found fellow junior Lazar Pasuljevic for a searing skipper that got USC on the board six minutes into the contest. USC’s defense would come up with the takeaway next, and then Matt Maier hit Zach D’Sa for a sweet shot that leveled things at 2-2. That score would stand for the final minute of the first, bringing up another wild eight minutes to play in the half.
After a quiet first four minutes of the second, USC got back in an offensive groove. On a Trojan power play, Stein struck a big one off a pass from Matteo Morelli to tug the Trojans to their first lead of the game, up 3-2. Two minutes later, Matteo Morelli set up Lachlan Edwards for an alley-oop in from of the cage, as Edwards hammered it home to net USC a 4-2 lead on a four-goal scoring surge. The Bruins would snap over 12 minutes of scoring silence with a 6-on-5 score of their own before the close of the half, making it a 4-3 USC advantage at the break.
The tug-of-war continued in the second half. UCLA got the equalizer on a power play before Pasuljevic plugged in his second goal — a screamer — to get USC back on top, up 5-4 with 3:40 left in the third. UCLA would manage its first back-to-back goals since the first frame to snake back the lead, and Bruins would grip a 6-5 lead entering the fourth. There, the Trojans remained resolute in their quest to snap a seven-game losing skid to their rivals. The first step was a nifty series on an early USC 6-on-5. Thomas Dunstan four Blake Edwards, who issued a no-look pass to the post for senior Nick Bell, who made no mistake in ringing up the equalizer for his Trojans. After almost five minutes of a stalemate with the score snarled at 6-6, USC broke through again. Tally another Morelli assist and another Stein strike on a 6-on-5, and USC was up 7-6 with 2:47 remaining. A minute later, UCLA was up on a power play, and the Bruins came through in the clutch to lock things up once more, even at 7-7 with 1:15 on the clock. In the final minute, USC stayed the course. Stein slipped a pass to Blake Edwards on the perimeter, and the captain rifled in the go-ahead goal. Up 8-7 with 38 seconds left, USC’s defense had to be up to the task, and it was. Baron made the stop on a final UCLA attempt with 15 ticks to go, and that was it. The USC win was in the books, and UCLA’s record win streak was at an end.
All focus now turns to the MPSF Tournament, where an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament goes up for grabs in Westwood. USC takes the top seed to open up with a matchup against No. 4 seeded Stanford at 3 p.m. on Friday (Nov. 18).
#2 USC 8, #1 UCLA 7
Nov. 12, 2016 – Uytengsu Aquatics Center (Los Angeles, Calif.)
USC 2 – 2 – 1 – 3 = 8
UCLA 2 – 1 – 3 – 1 = 7
USC — Grant Stein 2, Lazar Pasuljevic 2, Zach D’Sa, Lachlan Edwards, Nick Bell, Blake Edwards.
UCLA — Ryder Roberts 3, Chancellor Ramirez 2, Max Irving, Alex Roelse.
SAVES: McQuin Baron (USC) 9, Garrett Danner (UCLA) 10.
Courtesy UCLA Athletics:
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The top-ranked UCLA Bruins fell 8-7 at No. 2 USC on Saturday morning at Uytengsu Aquatics Center. The Trojans scored three power play goals in the fourth quarter to snap the Bruins’ 57-game overall winning streak and their 26-game MPSF winning streak. The Bruins fell to 24-1 and 2-1 in the MPSF while USC improved to 20-1 and 3-0 in the MPSF.
Senior Ryder Roberts led UCLA in scoring with three goals while senior Chancellor Ramirez added two. Senior goalkeeper Garrett Danner played the entire game in the cage and registered 11 saves. McQuin Baron played the entire contest in goal for USC, recording nine saves.
UCLA got on the board first with a penalty conversion by junior Max Irving after USC’s Mihajlo Milicevic got rolled at the 6:03 mark of the first period. The Bruins then went up 2-0 when senior Chancellor Ramirez scored from distance (2:51). Lazar Pasuljevic scored the first goal of the game for USC on a counter (1:12) to cut the lead to 2-1. Then Zach D’Sa scored a nearside skipper to tie it at 2-2 (1:12) to end the scoring in the first period.
Grant Stein gave USC its first lead of the game on a power play (3:48) to make it 3-2. Another power play goal followed, this one by Lachlan Edwards (1:47) to extend USC’s lead to 4-2. Senior Ryder Roberts cut into the lead with a power play score for the Bruins (0:39) to make the score 4-3 USC at the break.
Roberts scored his second power play goal in a row to tie the game at 4-4 (3:59). But Pasuljevic scored his second of the game on the next possession to give USC a 5-4 advantage (3:40). Roberts completed a hat trick on the next possession (2:49) after his first shot hit the crossbar, the Bruins regained possession and he delivered to tie it at 5-5. On UCLA’s next possession, junior Alex Roelse gave the Bruins the lead back at 6-5 (1:28) with a cross-cage skipper past Baron to end the scoring in the third.
Nick Bell scored his first of the game on a power play to open the scoring in the fourth (7:24) to tie the game at 6-6. Grant Stein then scored his second of the game on a power play (2:47) to give USC a 7-6 lead. But Ramirez scored his second on a power play (1:15) to tie it at 7-7. Blake Edwards provided the game-winning goal for the Trojans on another power play (0:38) to provide the 8-7 final.
The Bruins return to action next weekend when they host the 2016 MPSF Tournament Nov. 18-20 at Spieker Aquatics Center. The Trojans earned the top seed while UCLA will be No. 2, followed by California at No. 3, Stanford at No. 4 and Penn State Behrend at No. 5.
No. 1 UCLA (MPSF Game – Regular Season Finale)
SCOREBOARD 1 2 3 4 F
No. 1 UCLA 2 1 3 1 7
No. 2 USC 2 2 1 3 8
6×5 – UCLA – 4/10 – USC – 5/9
Penalties – UCLA – 1/1 – USC – 0/0
UCLA Goals: Ryder Roberts 3, Chancellor Ramirez 2, Max Irving 1, Alex Roelse 1
UCLA Saves: Garrett Danner 11
USC Goals: Lazar Pasuljevic 2, Grant Stein 2, Zach D’Sa 1, Lachlan Edwards 1, Nick Bell 1, Blake Edwards 1
USC Saves: McQuin Baron 9