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No. 3 USC Men’s Water Polo Digs Out Two Wins In Home Doubleheader

Sep 8, 2022

LOS ANGELES — The No. 3 USC men's water polo team made a successful day's work in its first home action of the year. In an unpredictable battle with No. 7 Long Beach State, the Trojans saw a four-goal lead melt away as the hosts had to dig out a late goal to force overtime against the Beach. In that OT stretch, though, USC held its ground to haul in a 14-10 victory that improves the Trojans to 4-1 on the year. Immediately following that tangle, USC squared off against Golden West in an exhibition clash that saw the Trojans grab a 13-9 decision to wrap a busy night at Uytengsu Aquatics Center.

In the face-off against Long Beach State, USC never trailed until the fourth frame. The Trojans handcrafted an 8-4 lead entering the fourth thanks to a widespread attack of seven different scorers and a staunch effort in the cage by goalie Blake Jackson — who finished the game with a career-high 13 saves. Freshman Andrej Grgurevic punched up a goal at the post off a feed from Jake Carter to get that  8-4 advantage in place, but the Beach would rattle off five consecutive goals in a  six-minute span — two coming on 5-meter penalties — to put the hosts' backs against the wall with a 9-8 deficit with 2:25 left in regulation. USC made some big defensive stops next, and received a fiery blast from Massimo Di Martire off the foul with 1:31 on the clock to knot it up at 9-9 and make it a hat trick for the Italian newcomer.

Once overtime kicked off, USC took back control. Jake Ehrhardt walked in and sailed the go-ahead score to the corner for the first strike to make it 10-9. He'd find Ashworth Molthen with 57 seconds on the  clock to nudge USC ahead 11-9, although Long Beach State answered and had it at 11-10 to close out the first overtime frame. In the final three minutes, it was all Di Martire, who tallied three unanswered goals all his own to close things down on a dramatic 14-10 USC victory over the Beach.

That brought up exhibition action against junior college program Golden West. Again, USC had eight different Trojans get in on the scoring, led by freshman Jack Vort's hat trick. Grgurevic struck two in that one, as did Tony Nardelli and Jake Carter, while goalies Kyle McKenney and Garrett Allen split time in the cage to back up USC's push to the 13-9 final over the visiting Rustlers.

USC heads to the Inland Empire Classic for another double day of competition on Saturday (Sept. 10). The Trojans play host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at 10:30 a.m. before a 1 p.m. matchup against Pomona-Pitzer in Claremont, Calif.

- Today's win over Long Beach State marked the Trojans' 35th consecutive victory vs. the Beach.
- Massimo Di Martire's six goals scored vs. LBSU was the most by a Trojan this season and set a career best for the newcomer at USC.
- Jake Ehrhardt's two goals vs. LBSU gives him 130 career goals at USC, ranking him No. 24 all-time.
- Blake Jackson's 13 saves vs. LBSU was a career high.

#3 USC 14, #7 Long Beach State 10 (OT)
Sept. 8, 2022 | Uytengsu Aquatics Center (Los Angeles, Calif.)
USC   2 - 3 - 3 - 1 — 2 - 3 = 14
LBSU 1 - 2 - 1 - 5 — 1 - 0 = 10
USC — Massimo Di Martire 6, Jake Ehrhardt 2, Marcus Longton, Chris Sturtevant, Tony Nardelli, Max Miller, Andrej Grgurevic, Ashworth Molthen.
LBSU — Garrett Zaan 3, Evan Cain 2, Rafael Real Vergara 2, Connor Mannion, Matt Morriss,  Aleksandar Timotjevic.
SAVES: Blake Jackson (USC) 13, Andres Bosanac (LBSU) 8.

#3 USC 13, Golden West 9
Sept. 8, 2022 | Uytengsu Aquatics Center (Los Angeles, Calif.)
USC   3 - 2 - 5 - 3 =  13
GW    2 - 1 - 3 - 3 = 9
USC — Jack Vort 3, Andrej Grgurevic 2, Tony Nardelli 2, Jake Carter 2, Carson Kranz, Reed Stemler, Chris Agliozzo, Zac Crenshaw.
GW — Alec Johnson 3, Eamon Hennessey 2, Augi Macchi, Srboljub Filipovic, Stan De Mey, James Dickson.
SAVES: Kyle McKenney (USC) 2 [1st half], Garrett Allen (USC) 3 [2nd half],  Garrett Henderson (GW) 9 [1st half], Braeden Sanders (GW) 2 [2nd half]