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No. 2 USC Men’s Water Polo Makes Move Into MPSF Title Match

Sep 25, 2021

BERKELEY, CALIF. — The No. 2 USC men's water polo team never trailed today, hitting the turbo boosters in both games to create some space and haul in two wins at the MPSF Invite in Berkeley, Calif. A pair of three-goal surges helped put No. 7 UC Davis out of reach en route to a 13-8 win over the Aggies this morning. That put the Trojans in the semifinals against No. 3 Stanford, which saw USC hit the gas in the first half with a four-goal rally that built a seven-goal advantage for USC before things tightened up to a final 15-13 Trojan win. Now 9-0 overall, USC heads into the MPSF Invite championship game tomorrow (Sept. 26) at 1 p.m.

Against UC Davis in the morning matchup, the Trojans and Aggies were locked up even at 4-4 during the second before Hannes Daube served up the go-ahead goal for USC before the close of the half. The Trojans made statements on both ends of the pool to open the second half, with Jake Ehrhardt and Chris Sturtevant scoring goals around a big 5-meter penalty stop by goalie Nic Porter as USC went up 7-4. Another three-goal rally kicked off the fourth frame for USC, leaving UC Davis behind 12-7 as the Trojans rounded out a final 13-8 win. Porter gathered in 10 saves in that one, while Jacob Mercep topped out the scoring with a hat trick. That effort pulled him even at No. 5 all-time in career scoring at USC.

USC's offense was effective against the Cardinal, turning a one-goal game into a 7-2 USC lead with four straight Trojan goals in the first half. Ehrhardt lit the fuse on that one, and Max Miller delivered the next three blasts in the run. USC was up 9-3 by halftime and led it 12-5 during the third for an advantage that proved too great for the Cardinal. Stanford would outscore USC in the second half, but the Trojans remained in control to punch their ticket to the championship game. Miller and Ehrhardt each hit hat tricks in the win to lead the USC offense, while Porter notched nine saves in the cage. 

USC moves into the championship game of the MPSF Invite, facing host No. 3 California at 1 p.m. tomorrow (Sept. 26) at Spieker Aquatics Complex.

- SO Max Miller scored a career-high three goals vs. Stanford — all in the first half.
- RS JR Ashworth Molthen scored his first career goal as a Trojan vs. Stanford.
- With 10 saves. vs. UC Davis, SR goalie Nic Porter has now recorded 27 outings with double-digit saves.
- With five goals scored today, SR Jacob Mercep became USC's No. 5 all-time scorer with 181 career goals as a Trojan.

MPSF INVITATIONAL (Berkeley, Calif.)

#2 USC 13, #7 UC Davis 8
Sept. 25, 2021 | Berkeley, Calif.
USC   3 - 2 - 4 - 4 = 13
UCD   1 - 3 - 3 - 1 = 8
USC — Jacob Mercep 3, Hannes Daube 2, Chris Sturtevant 2, Max Miller 2, Wyatt Barker 2, Jake Ehrhardt, Marcus Longton.
UCD — Stefan Venne 2, Connor Norton 2, Aleix Aznar Beltran, Nir Gross, Holden Neach, Hal Goulter.
SAVES: Nic Porter (USC) 10, Aaron Wilson (UCD) 3. 

#2 USC 15, #3 Stanford 13
Sept. 25, 2021 | Berkeley, Calif.
USC    5 - 4 - 4 - 2 = 15
STAN  2 - 1 - 6 - 4 = 13
USC —Max Miller 3, Jake Ehrhardt 3, Hannes Daube 2, Jacob Mercep 2, Chris Sturtevant, Marcus Longton, Tom McGuire, Wyatt Barker,  Ashworth Molthen.
STAN — AJ Rossman  3, Quinn Woodhead 2, Larsen Weigle 2, Walker Seymour 2, Tyler Abramson, Beck Jurasius, Ike Love, Jackson Painter.
SAVES: Nic Porter (USC) 9, Nolan Krutonog (STAN) 2, Liam Harrison (STAN) 2.