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No. 5 USC Men’s Water Polo Will Face No. 1 Cal For Third Place At MPSF Invite

Sep 24, 2022

STANFORD, CALIF. — The No. 5 USC men's water polo team played out two tense games today at the MPSF Invitational, pulling ahead of No. 6 UC Davis for an 11-9 win before coming up short in an true battle with No. 2 UCLA as the Trojans fell 13-12 to the Bruins in the semifinals. Jake Ehrhardt and Massimo Di Martire amassed six goals apiece across both games, which have USC at 10-3 overall on the year entering tomorrow's third-place game against California at 11:30 a.m. at Avery Aquatic Center.

USC's non showdown with UC Davis game opened with an offensive explosion, with both teams tacking up five goals each in the first eight minutes before defenses got back in the game in the second frame. The Trojans struck first, but had to play catchup after the Aggies went back-to-back. UC Davis was up 4-3 after four minutes of play. USC would come up with two nifty finishes from Massimo Di Martire and Andrej Grgurevic around a busted UC Davis power play to go up 5-4 in the final minute, but the Aggies struck again and equalized second later to snarl it up at 5-5. In the second, Di Martire broke a stalemate with a rifle shot that got USC ahead 6-5 just 26 ticks from halftime, and the Trojans would not trail the rest of the way. USC built a three-goal advantage with a strong third frame, as Marcus Longton, Ashworth Molthen and Jake Ehrhardt ripped their ways to the back of the net while UC Davis managed just a single score. The Aggies carved that 9-6 margin down to one in the fourth, however, forcing USC to dig deep. Carson Kranz and Molthen each came up with key 6-on-5 finishes to get USC a lift. Molthen's second goal with 2:56 to go gave USC an 11-9 lead that the Trojan defense would hold intact. One last save from Kyle McKenney sealed the deal, and USC was on to the semifinals with that victory over UC Davis.

Up against rival UCLA for the second time this season, USC got the early jump with a 2-0 lead on goals from Ehrhardt and Chris Sturtevant. UCLA fired right back, however, locking things up at 2-2 with two goals about a minute apart. USC's Di Martire took a 6-on-5 feed from Joshua Waldoch soon after and scored a searing goal to tug USC ahead 3-2. In the second frame, UCLA made up ground and took its first lead in opening up the period with back-to-back goals. The Trojans answered right back, though, as Ehrhardt and Di Martire delivered yet again for a 5-4 lift in USC's favor. And yet, UCLA responded once more, nudging into the lead at 6-5 to start a trend that had USC chasing a tight game the rest of the way. Andrej Grgurevic snarled it up 6-6 for halftime as he converted a USC 6-on-5, but the Trojans were stuck playing catchup from there. USC forced five more ties in the second half, but could not maneuver ahead of the Bruins down the stretch, and UCLA emerged with the 13-12 victory to take the spot in tomorrow's title match.

USC will face No. 1 California tomorrow (Sept. 25) at 11:30 a.m. in the third-place game at the MPSF Invitational at Stanford's Avery Aquatic Center. 

- With goals vs. UC Davis and UCLA, Marcus Longton extended his scoring streak to 13 games — the only Trojan to have scored in every game this season.
- With two goals vs. UC Davis and four vs. UCLA, Jake Ehrhardt climbed to rank tied at No. 14 all-time at USC with 148 career goals.
- With six goals today, Massimo Di Martire continues to lead USC in scoring this season, now with 30 goals.
- Andrej Grgurevic was in goal to face UCLA's final 5-meter penalty shot, and made the save before the final buzzer.


#5 USC 11, #6 UC Davis 9
Sept. 24, 2022 | Avery Aquatic Center (Stanford, Calif.)
USC    5 - 1 - 3 - 2 =11
UCD    5 - 0 - 1 - 3 = 9
USC — Ashworth Molthen 2, Massimo Di Martire 2, Jake Ehrhardt 2, Luka Brnetic, Marcus Longton, Andrej Grgurevic, Max Miller, Carson Kranz.
UCD — Aaron Voggenthaler 2, Will Nomura 2, Aleix Aznar Beltran, Logan Anderson, Holden Neach, Levi Murtaugh, Connor Norton.
SAVES: Kyle McKenney (USC) 5, Aaron Wilsom (UCD) 5.

#2 UCLA 13, #5 USC 12
Sept. 24, 2022 | Avery Aquatic Center (Stanford, Calif.)
USC    3 - 3 - 4 - 2 = 12
UCLA  2 - 4 - 4 - 3 = 13
USC — Jake Ehrhardt 4, Massimo Di Martire 4, Chris Sturtevant, Andrej Grgurevic, Carson Kranz, Marcus Longton.
UCLA — Tommy Gruwell 5, Jake Cavano 4, Gianpiero Di Martire 2, Evan Rosenfeld, Gabe Discipulo.
SAVES: Kyle McKenney (USC) 8, Andrej Grgurevic (USC) 1, Bernardo Maurizi (UCLA) 7.