USC’s Maud Megens Is MPSF Player of the Year, Marko Pintaric Is MPSF Coach of the Year
Poised for the postseason as the top-ranked team in the nation, the USC women's water polo team also boasts the MPSF Player and Coach of the Year for the seventh time in program history. Senior Maud Megens stands tall as the 2021 MPSF Player of the Year — the 12th such award for the Women of Troy — while second-year head coach Marko Pintaric has earned his first MPSF Coach of the Year award. Megens is also one of six Trojans to earn All-MPSF honors this season, joined by super senior Denise Mammolito on the All-MPSF First Team. Another super senior, Kelsey McIntosh, has a spot on the All-MPSF Second Team, while a trio of Trojans — senior Verica Bakoc, redshirt senior Holly Parker and junior Bayley Weber — have picked up All-MPSF Honorable Mention.
After a year away from USC to help her Dutch National Team qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, Maud Megens returned to her Trojans this season and has scored 32 goals so far. That runs her USC career tally to 195, ranking her No. 9 all-time on scoring charts. She has scored in all but one game in which she's appeared for USC this season, with six multi-goal outings to date, including two five-goal onslaughts. The do-it-all utility player also averages 1.2 assists and 1.4 steals per game. An MPSF Player of the Week pick earlier this season, Megens now is a four-time All-MPSF honoree after earning Second Team honors in 2017 and First Team awards in 2018, 2019 and now 2021.As a freshman, Megens also was named to the MPSF All-Newcomer Team in 2017. Megens is the 10th Trojan to be named MPSF Player of the Year, bringing USC its 12th such award. She follows in the most recent footsteps of Amanda Longan (2018), Stephania Haralabidis (2016), Monica Vavic (2013), Tumua Anae (2010) and Kami Craig (2009).
In his second year as head coach of the USC water polo program, Marko Pintaric has managed his Women of Troy to great success as the top-ranked team in the nation and top seed in the coming MPSF Tournament with a 17-1 overall record. USC has tallied eight wins over top-5 teams along the way, averaging 11.9 goals per game and allowing just 7.4 goals-against per game. Pintaric helped guide USC to a 23-game win streak that spanned from last year's shortened season to last weekend. His first career MPSF Coach of the Year award is the seventh overall for USC, following six earned by former coach Jovan Vavic.
Super senior Denise Mammolito joins Megens on the All-MPSF First Team, making it back-to-back First Team picks for Mammolito to add to her honorable mention in 2019. A captain, Mammolito also leads USC in scoring with 42 goals, highlighted by a seven-goal outburst in an overtime win over Stanford this season. Another all-around asset, Mammolito also leads the team in field blocks with nine. She also earned MPSF Player of the Week honors this season. As a freshman, she was named to the MPSF All-Newcomer Team in 2017. Mammolito currently ranks No. 12 all-time in career scoring at USC with 165 goals so far.
Another super senior captain who came back for more this year, Kelsey McIntosh, has her third set of All-MPSF honors with this year's All-MPSF Second Team selection. A workhorse for the Trojans, she's scored 14 goals and leads the team with 20 assists to date. This year's honors go along with First Team accolades in 2020 and honorable mention in 2019. McIntosh ranks No. 25 all-time in career scoring with 117 goals to date.
USC's trio on the All-MPSF Honorable Mention list features two repeat honorees and one newcomer to the MPSF honor roll. Senior Verica Bakoc now has her first MPSF award, having punched up a career-high 33 goals this season to stand as USC's second leading scorer. She also went big with a seven-goal game to help USC to a win at Cal back in March. For redshirt senior Holly Parker and junior Bayley Weber, this year's honorable mention marks their second round of All-MPSF honors. Goalie Parker picked up honorable mention last season as well, and this year she's remained a defensive backbone for the Trojans in averaging 8.2 saves per game. She made two career-high 12-save outings this season as she's climbed up the USC career charts with 267 saves to rank No. 8 all-time on USC's goalie list. On the offensive end, Bayley Weber has scored 21 goals so far in her junior campaign. Also second on the team with eight field blocks, she's a pesky force on defense. Weber was an All-MPSF Second Team selection last season and was on the 2019 MPSF All-Newcomer Team.
The Trojans and their fearless leader Pintaric are now turning focus on the 2021 MPSF Tournament, which runs April 30-May 2 in Tempe, Ariz. As the top seeds, USC has a bye in the first round and will meet either California or host Arizona State in a 2 p.m. semifinal on Saturday (May 1) to fight for the right to defend the Trojans' back-to-back MPSF Tournament titles won in 2018 and 2019.