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No. 2 USC Men’s Water Polo Opens 2021 With Victorious Doubleheader

Sep 4, 2021

The No. 2 USC men's water polo team got out of the gates of this 2021 season with a pair of high-powered efforts at Uytengsu Aquatics Center. The doubleheader began with a morning matchup against West Valley College, where 12 Trojans scored to build out a 27-9 win over the Vikings in an exhibition contest. USC's first official action of the year followed soon after, with the Trojans topping La Verne 28-5 behind an onslaught of 14 different Trojan scorers to get USC a 1-0 start to the season.

USC goalies Nic Porter and Blake Jackson tag-teamed the cage in both tests, with senior Porter combining nicely with redshirt freshman Jackson. Jackson's first action as a Trojan featured a fourth-frame shutout in the win over the Leopards.

The morning began slowly for the Trojans, who saw West Valley take early leads. After the Vikings had USC even at 3-3, the Trojans responded with a seven-goal surge that stretched from the first period into the second. Back from the Olympics, Hannes Daube delivered two goals in that Trojan rally, with Tom McGuire striking twice as well as USC got out ahead for good with a 10-3 lead. USC scored three straight to wrap the first half, with Chris Sturtevant going back-to-back to build a 17-5 USC lead at the break. He'd finish up as USC's top scorer with four goals against the Vikings, while Daube, McGuire, Marcus Longton, Alexander Lansill and Jacob Mercep each tallied hat tricks in the exhibition action as USC posted a 27-9 decision over West Valley.

From there, the Trojans got right back to business with their first official test of the season. USC rattled off the first eight goals of the game in that one, with Jacob Mercep notching three in that rally . A 6-on-5 finish from La Verne got the Leopards on the board before the close of the first, and then USC unleashed another eight-goal surge. Mercep ran his tally out to five goals with two more in that run, with Hannes Daube adding a pair as well, while freshman Jake Carter notched his first goal as a Trojan. Again, La Verne found a late goal to break up USC's run, making it a 16-2 score by halftime. In the third, USC kept clicking, with Jake Ehrhardt, Marcus Longton and Matt Harrison joining the scoresheet along the way to a 22-5 USC lead entering the fourth. In that last stretch, the USC defense allowed no goals, and another USC freshman earned his stripes as Aidan Wattson scored his first goal as a Trojan. James Kolenda would have the last word for USC with back-to-back goals before the buzzer sounded on a 28-5 Trojan victory.

Next up for the Trojans is another home tilt next week, with USC (1-0) hosting Pepperdine at 3 p.m. on  Saturday (Sept. 11) at Uytengsu Aquatics Center.

#2 USC 27, West Valley 9
Sept. 4, 2021 | Uytengsu Aquatics Center
USC  7 - 10 - 5 -  5 = 27
WVC 3 - 2 - 1 - 3 = 9

USC — Chris Sturtevant 4, Hannes Daube 3, Tom McGuire 3, Marcus Longton 3, Alexander Lansill 3, Jacob Mercep 3, Max Miller 2, Wyatt Barker 2, Jake Ehrhardt, Joshua Waldoch, Tony Nardelli, Bennett Winther.
WVC — Ran Souva 3, Carlos Zayola 2, Nikola Nikolic 2, Togan Ozbek, Bendeguz Aubeli.
SAVES: Nic Porter (USC) 3 [1st half], Blake Jackson (USC) 5 [2nd half], Kai Seed (WVC) 8.

#2 USC 28, La Verne 5
Sept. 4, 2021 | Uytengsu Aquatics Center
USC  8 - 8  - 6 - 6 = 28
ULV  1 - 1 - 3 - 0 = 5

USC — Jacob Mercep 5, Marcus Longton 3, Wyatt Barker 3, Hannes Daube 3, Alexander Lansill 2, Chris Agliozzo 2, Jake Ehrhardt 2, James Kolenda 2, Tom McGuire, Jake Carter, Matt Harrison, Tony Nardelli, Chris Sturtevant, Aidan Wattson.
ULV — Danilo Lugli, Asher Kocalis, Peter Trinh, Gage Unsoeld, Brandon Pham.
SAVES: Nic Porter (USC) 7 [1st half], Blake Jackson (USC) 3 [2nd half], Ryan Lehotsky (ULV) 4.