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Nic Porter Tallies 14 Saves In USC Men's Water Polo's 12-11 MPSF Invite Championship Win At Cal

Sep 26, 2021

BERKELEY, CALIF. — The No. 2 USC men's water polo team had the first and last words in a victorious effort in today's MPSF Invitational title match, where the Trojans beat host No. 3 California 12-11 in an exciting final at Spieker Aquatics Complex in Berkeley. Ashworth Molthen broke ground on the offensive end to open things up, finishing with a team-high three goals for the Trojan cause. And goalie Nic Porter capped off an impressive performance in the cage with one final save to squash any Golden Bear hopes of forcing overtime. Porter would wind up with a whopping 14 saves in the championship win, which puts USC at 10-0 overall on the season.

The score was tied up seven times, with Cal holding one-goal leads on two occasions in the third frame before USC created some crucial breathing room in the fourth period. Cal had knotted things up at 8-8 early, but USC responded with a booming 6-on-5 finish from Carson Kranz off a feed from Jacob Mercep to go up 9-8. Then, Nic Porter stuffed a Cal 5-meter penalty shot to give the Trojans a huge lift. 

Mercep catapulted a long-range strike through to make it 10-8, and then Porter notched another save against a Cal power play. On the attack again, Kranz found Jake Ehrhardt for a laser that gave USC its largest lead, up 11-8 with  3:45 to go. Cal would find a quick reply, only to see Hannes Daube get USC up on a 6-on-5 next. 

He'd finish it off himself, taking a pass from Mercep and burying it to get USC ahead 12-9 with 3:05 on the clock. The Bears carved their deficit down to one less than a minute later, but the USC defense dug in for the final stretch. Two more Porter saves sandwiched a huge field block from Marcus Longton against a late Cal 6-on-5, and USC emerged victorious with the 12-11 decision.

USC returns home to host Pacific in a nonconference clash at 1 p.m. on Saturday (Oct. 2) at Uytengsu Aquatics Center.

- With a goal each of the first three periods, RS JR Ashworth Molthen recorded his first hat trick as a Trojan today.
- With 14 saves today, SR goalie Nic Porter has now recorded 28 outings with double-digit saves in his USC career.
- Hannes Daube's two goals today makes him the only Trojan to have scored at least twice in every game at the MPSF Invite.

MPSF INVITATIONAL (Berkeley, Calif.)

#2 USC 12, #3 California 11
Sept. 26, 2021 | Berkeley, Calif.
USC   2 - 1 - 5 - 4 = 12
CAL   1 - 2 - 4  - 4 = 11
USC — Ashworth Molthen 3, Hannes Daube 2, Jake Ehrhardt 2, Marcus Longton, Wyatt Barker, Chris Sturtevant, Carson Kranz, Jacob Mercep.
CAL — Nikolaos Papanikolaou 3, Roberto Valera 2, Jack Deely 2, Max Casabella, Miles O'Brien-Schridde, Nikos Delagrammatikas, Warren Loth.
SAVES: Nic Porter (USC) 14, Adrian Weinberg (CAL) 5.