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No. 4 USC Men's Water Polo Overpowers No. 5 Pepperdine 13-7

Feb 14, 2021


LOS ANGELES — The No. 4 USC men's water polo team poured out 11 goals in two periods to leave No. 5 Pepperdine in its wake en route to a 13-7 win at Uytengsu Aquatics Center. Jacob Mercep unfurled five goals, and Vaios Vlahotasios hauled in 14 saves during USC's well-balanced winning effort. The nonconference win improves USC to 3-5 overall. Before the game, USC celebrated its two graduating seniors — Jere Ashby and Luke Wyatt — in a pregame Senior Day ceremony. 

USC would misfire early on while Pepperdine converted a 6-on-5 and a 5-meter penalty shot to take a 2-0 lead in the first before the Trojans broke their silence on a blast from Marcus Longton in the final minute. Trailing 2-1, USC rattled off three straight goals in the second, and the Trojans never looked back. Jake Ehrhardt had back-to-back goals in the surge, and Max Miller had a hugely heroic effort at 2-meters to get USC on top to stay. Pepperdine stopped the run with a goal next, but USC wrapped two Jacob Mercep strikes around Longton's second slingshot of the day, and the Trojans were up comfortably 7-3 at halftime.

Duly warmed up, Mercep rattled the back of the cage three more times in the third while only a single Pepperdine 5-meter penalty shot would account for the Waves' scoring in the frame. With his five-goal outburst, Mercep cracked USC's top-20 scoring charts, now ranked No. 19 all-time with 137 career goals as a Trojan. 

Longton and Wyatt Barker also tallied for the Trojans in the third, while Vlahotasios continued to collect impressive saves. He'd finish up with 14 — one off his career high — in his first full game of work this season. Before the final buzzer sounded on USC's resounding victory, Carson Kranz joined the scoring party with a bar-in blast, and USC was well on its way it a final 13-7 win over the visiting Waves.

Next up for the Trojans is a trip to Stanford for three more MPSF battles next weekend. On Saturday (Feb. 20), USC faces Cal at 1 p.m. and then takes on host Stanford at 6:30 p.m. On Sunday, the Trojans square off against UCLA at 3:30 p.m.

#4 USC 13, #5 Pepperdine 7
Feb. 14, 2021 | Uytengsu Aquatics Center (Los Angeles, Calif.)
USC  1 - 6 - 5 - 1 = 13
PEP  2 - 1 - 1 - 3 = 7

USC — Jacob Mercep 5, Marcus Longton 3, Jake Ehrhardt 2, Max Miller, Wyatt Barker, Carson Kranz.
PEP — Balazs Kosa 5, Curtis Jarvis, Sean Ferrari.
SAVES: Vaios Vlahotasios (USC) 14, Kent Emden (PEP) 9.