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No. 2 USC Men's Water Polo Falls Twice At Uytengsu

Feb 6, 2021

LOS ANGELES — The No. 2 USC men's water polo team was hamstrung by offensive slumps on the first day of competition at the Round Robin event at Uytengsu Aquatics Center, falling to top-ranked Stanford 14-8 and to No. 2 Cal 11-8 today. The Trojans have a shot at redemption tomorrow night when they clash with rival UCLA at 7 p.m. USC will take a 2-4 overall record into that crosstown rivalry.

In the morning match with No. 1 Stanford, USC came out afire in pumping out back-to-back even goals on blasts from Jacob Mercep and Marcus Longton to net an early 2-0 Trojan advantage. Stanford would get to within one three times, but Jake Ehrhardt, Chris Sturtevant and Luke Wyatt had an answer each time to build back USC's advantage. The Trojans would take a hefty three goal lead into the second thanks to a slam from Wyatt Barker off a pass from Mercep making it 6-3 USC. But that's where the offensive onslaught sputtered out for the Trojans. USC would come up empty in the second period while Stanford pulled even by halftime at 6-6. The Cardinal would score four straight in the third to pile up a 10-6 lead on the Trojans. Longton broke up the rally after a Nic Porter save, but Stanford finished off a third 5-meter penalty shot of the day to keep USC at bay with an 11-7 lead entering the fourth. USC's offense hit a wall again, with just a single strike breaking through in the final minute from Longton while Stanford found three more goals in that final frame to wrap up a 14-8 win over thee Trojans. 

Against Cal in the nightcap, USC fell in a 4-0 hole as its offense misfired in the first half until Wyatt Barker broke through to make it 4-1. Cal had the last word of the half, though, to take a 5-1 lead into halftime. USC would find its scoring touch in the third with goals from Jacob Mercep, Alexander Lansill and Max Miller, only to see the Bears blast four in that frame and lead it 9-4 on the way to the final eight minutes. The Trojans would find a spark and carve down the deficit to two as Chris Sturtevant, Lansill and Mercep ripped in goals for the Trojan cause. It was a 9-7 margin entering the final four minutes, but the Bears fended off the Trojans with an even score before Marcus Longton broke through in the final minute. USC would get no closer than two, though, as Cal got to the back of the net one last time to wrap up a final 11-8 win over the Trojans.

Tomorrow (Feb. 7), the day's action kicks off with a 10 a.m. meeting between UCLA and Stanford. At 3:30 p.m., Cal and Stanford will face off, with USC and UCLA squaring off in the night matchup at 7 p.m. at Uytengsu Aquatics Center. 

#1 Stanford 14, #2 USC 8
Feb. 6, 2021  | Uytengsu Aquatics Center
USC   6 - 0 - 1 - 1 = 8
STAN  3 - 3 - 5 - 3 = 14

USC — Marcus Longton 3, Jacob Mercep, Chris Sturtevant, Jake Ehrhardt, Luke Wyatt, Wyatt Barker.
STAN — Quinn Woodhead 3, Beck Jurasius 2, Ethan Parrish 2, Soren Jensen 2, Walker Seymour, Tyler Abramson, Spencer Nelson, Jackson Painter, Riley Pittman.
SAVES: Nic Porter (USC) 7, Vaios Vlahotasios (USC) 0, Andrew Chun (STAN) 12. 

#2 California 11, #2 UCLA 8 (OT)
Feb. 6, 2021  | Uytengsu Aquatics Center
CAL     0 - 3 - 3 - 1 — 2 - 2 = 11
UCLA  2 - 2 - 2 - 1 — 1 - 0 = 8

CAL — Delagrammatikas 3, Deely 3, Papanikolau 2, Naone 2, Avakian.
UCLA — Cavano 2, Saveljic 2, Rodgers, Jarvis, Kenney, Gruwell.
SAVES: Weinberg (CAL) 13, Maurizi (UCLA) 18.

#2 California 11, #2 USC 8
Feb. 6, 2021  | Uytengsu Aquatics Center
USC   0 - 1 - 3 - 4 = 8
CAL   2 - 3 - 4 - 2 = 11

USC — Jacob Mercep 2, Alexander Lansill 2, Wyatt Barker, Max Miller, Chris Sturtevant, Marcus Longton.
CAL — Nikolaos Papanikolau 4, Garrett Dunn 2, Warren Loth, Tommy Kennedy, Jack Deely, Miles O'Brien-Schridde, Joe Molina.
SAVES: Nic Porter (USC) 9, Vaios Vlahotasios (USC) 2, Adrian Weinberg (CAL) 13.