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No. 1 USC Men’s Water Polo Takes First Loss With 7-6 Defeat To No. 5 Cal

Oct 9, 2021

LOS ANGELES — The No, 1 USC men's water polo team came up short of forcing overtime in a tight MPSF battle with No. 5 California, falling 7-6 to the Golden Bears in the Trojans' first loss of the season. The Bears broke open a tied game in the fourth to create space, holding off the Trojans to pocked the MPSF decision. USC goes to 11-1 overall with an 0-1 mark in MPSF play.

The back-and-forth battle began early, with Cal scoring first on a 6-on-5, only to see Hannes Daube rear up for a solo shot to equalize 20 seconds later. Both defenses locked in for the next stretch, with no goals scored for the next nine-and-a-half minutes of action. Cal cashed in on another 6-on-5 at 5:02 in the second to get back on top, but the Trojans followed suit with power play finishes from Jake Ehrhardt and Hannes Daube. USC's 3-2 advantage looked primed to hold up to halftime, but then the referee's whistle blew another exclusion on the Trojans, and Cal nailed another 6-on-5 to knot it at 3-3 eight seconds before the break.

Defense was the name of the game again through much of the third, as Porter and Cal goalie Adrian Weinberg manned their respective cages well. USC broke the silence with a rocket from Ehrhardt off a feed from Jacob Mercep to nudge ahead 4-3. But Cal struck back with back-to-back blasts to lead it 5-4 entering the fourth. Max Miller would get USC up on a 6-on-5 early in the frame, and Daube found Ashworth Molthen for a fake and fire that leveled things for the fifth time at 5-5. Two minutes later, the Bears to back the lead on another successful 6-on-5 and then added to it a minute later on a 5-meter penalty shot. Down by two with just under four minutes to go,USC got one back on Ehrhardt's third of the day to make it 7-6 with 1:47 remaining. USC had a look at the equalizer later, but a field block stopped the Trojans' chance to force overtime in this one. 

NOTABLE:
- SR Nic Porter made 12 saves today, recording his 29th career game with double-digit saves and fifth such outing this season.
- With three goals today, SR Jake Ehrhardt marked his fourth game this season with at least three goal scored.
- With two goals today, RS JR Hannes Daube has now scored multiple goals in the past six games.

NEXT:
USC visits No. 12 UC Irvine tomorrow (Oct. 10) at 1 p.m. in a nonconference meeting in Irvine.

#5 California 7, #1 USC 6
Oct. 9, 2021 | Uytengsu Aquatics Center (Los Angeles, Calif.)
USC  1 - 2 - 1- 2 = 6
CAL 1 - 2 - 2 - 2 = 7

SCORING:
USC — Jake Ehrhardt 3, Hannes Daube 2, Ashworth Molthen.
CAL — Nikos Delagrammatikas 3, Jake Stone, Miles O'Brien-Schridde, Max Casabella, Marko Valecic.

SAVES: Nic Porter (USC) 12, Adrian Weinberg (CAL) 20.