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No. 2 USC Men’s Water Polo Takes Down Two To Move Into Triton Invite Semis

Sep 3, 2022

LA JOLLA, CALIF. — The No. 2 USC men's water polo team churned out two solid wins today to kick off the 2022 season and make a power move into the semifinals of the Triton Invitational in La Jolla, Calif. The Trojans opened the day with an overwhelming effort against Concordia, rendering the Eagles scoreless throughout while building out a 24-0 win with 14 different USC scorers in the books. In the afternoon, USC wrapped up group play on a winning note in powering past No. 12 UC Irvine for a 10-4 victory, shutting out the Anteaters in the fourth frame to build out the win and make it a 2-0 start to the season.

USC unleashed six goals in the first frame on the hands of six different scores, with true freshmen Andrej Grgurevic and Jack Vort registering their first goals as Trojans in that opening rally. While the Trojan defense — backed up by first-half goalie Blake Jackson — continued to silence the Eagles, four more USC scorers got on the board in the second period as the Trojans maneuvered ahead 13-0 by halftime. Max Miller and Marcus Longton each delivered a pair of blasts in that stretch. For the second half of action, redshirt freshman goalie Eric Hubner checked in for his first official action as a Trojan. He, too, would help ensure that Concordia would come up empty on its offensive end. Meanwhile, USC piled on seven more goals in the third, with Reed Stemler and Henry Saunders each knocking in their first career goals along the way. Luka Brnetic pumped in two goals in that frame, and USC carried a 20-0 lead into the fourth. The Trojans took their foot off the gas a bit in the final stretch, tallying four more goals while Miller, Vort and Tony Nardelli completed their hat tricks. Again, the Eagles were held at bay, as USC wrapped up the 24-0 final to notch a 1-0 start to the 2022 season.

The tone shifted in USC's afternoon action, as the Trojans took on No. 12 UC Irvine to close out group play and take aim at a spot in the semifinals. The first frame saw goals come only from the 5-meter penalty mark, with the Anteaters getting on the board first with an early penalty conversion. Massimo Di Martire punched in a penalty strike for the Trojan cause next to equalize, and then Max Miller drew another exclusion to put Di Martire back at the 5-meter spot for the go-ahead goal. In the cage, USC's Blake Jackson came up with three big stops to help keep USC a step ahead, up 2-1 after eight minutes. USC would edge ahead 3-1 when Jake Ehrhardt finished off a pass from Ashworth Molthen, but the Anteaters answered back to cut it to 3-2 before halftime. Kyle McKenney took over the cage for USC in the third, making some key blocks as well while Di Martire drummed up a hat trick. Marcus Longton made it back-to-back goals for USC, and then freshman Evan Ausmus hammered home his first goal as a Trojan to lift USC to a 6-2 advantage. Up 6-4 entering the fourth, USC had Longton work his way into a hat trick as well with back-to-back blasts that stoked USC to an 8-4 lead. Andrej Grgurevic delivered next, and then Chris Sturtevant made it a four-goal Trojan surge to go up 10-4 in the fourth. 

NEXT:
USC will face No. 10 Pepperdine in the Triton Invitational semifinals tomorrow (Sept. 4) at 10:45 a.m. at UC San Diego's Canyonview Aquatic Center. A win there would put USC into the championship game at 2:45 p.m.

NOTABLE:
- The last time USC shut out an opponent was a 14-0 win over Redlands in 2018.
- RS FR goalie Eric Hubner saw his first action today in the second half of the game vs. Concordia.
- Henry Saunders, Reed Stemler, Jack Vort, Andrej Grgurevic and Massimo Di Martire each scored their first career goals as Trojans during the win over Concordia.
- Max Miller's three goals vs. Concordia matched his career high.
- With three goals scored today, Jake Ehrhardt moved up to rank No. 25 all-time with 127 career goals
- Evan Ausmus scored his first career goal as a Trojan during USC's win over UC Irvine.
- Kyle McKenney's 10 saves in the second half vs. UC Irvine is his most logged as a Trojan

TRITON INVITATIONAL
GROUP PLAY
#2 USC 24, Concordia 0
Sept. 3, 2022 | Canyonview Aquatic Center (La Jolla, Calif.)
USC  6 - 7 - 7 - 4 = 24
CUI   0 - 0 - 0 - 0 = 0
SCORING:
USC — Max Miller 3, Tony Nardelli 3, Jack Vort 3, Jake Ehrhardt 2, Luka Brnetic 2, Ashworth Molthen 2, Marcus Longton 2, Andrej Grgurevic, Massimo Di Martire, Joshua Waldoch, Jake Carter, Carson Kranz, Reed Stemler, Henry Saunders.
SAVES: Blake Jackson (USC) 3 [1st half], Eric Hubner (USC) [2nd half] 1, Hunter Osgood (CUI) 5.

#2 USC 10, UC Irvine 4
Sept. 3, 2022 | Canyonview Aquatic Center (La Jolla, Calif.)
USC  2 - 1 - 3 - 4 = 10
UCI   1 - 1 - 2 - 0 = 4
SCORING:
USC — Massimo Di Martire 3, Marcus Longton 3, Jake Ehrhardt, Evan Ausmus, Andrej Grgurevic, Chris Sturtevant.
UCI — Ethan Shipman 4.
SAVES: Blake Jackson (USC) 6 [1st half], Kyle McKenney (USC) 10 [2nd half], Aidan Byrve (UCI) 16.