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No. 5 USC Men’s Water Polo Falls 14-10 At No. 2 Cal

Oct 15, 2022

BERKELEY, CALIF. — The No. 5 USC men's water polo team was forced into catchup mode early in today's MPSF test at No. 2 California, and although the Trojans were able to get within one in the fourth frame, the host Golden Bears got the goals they needed to notch a 14-10 win. Massimo Di Martire tallied three goals, and goalie Kyle McKenney recorded nine saves, but USC was left with the loss today in Berkeley, Calif. USC goes to 13-5 overall and is now 0-1 in MPSF play. 

The Golden Bears surged to a 3-0 lead out of the gates to put the Trojans in a tough spot. Down by four goals on several occasions, USC was able to carve the deficit down to two during the second and third frames. Back-to-back goals from Massimo Di Martire and Carson Kranz pulled the score to 5-3 midway through the second, and then Ashworth Molthen's 6-on-5 finish off a fed from Marcus Longton had it at 6-4 to close the first half. Down 8-4 in the third, Molthen and Kranz would strike again for the Trojan cause, and it was an 8-6 deficit until Cal converted a power play, leaving USC behind 9-6 entering the fourth.

The Trojans would again find themselves in a four-goal hole early in the fourth. A couple key USC defensive stops helped fuel up the Trojans, who got a spark from a cross cage blast from Marcus Longton. Di Martire nabbed a steal next, and Max Miller earned a 6-on-5 for USC. Longton would find Di Martire for the nearside strike there, and USC was again within two, trailing 10-8. Kyle McKenney interrupted a Cal offensive look with a steal, and then Molthen hit Andrej Grgurevic for a sizzling score that had USC in reach, down 10-9 with 3:05 to go. That's when Cal regrouped, however, finding the top corner to go up 11-9. Luka Brnetic catapulted in a shot to the low corner for USC next, and it was 11-10 with 1:55 remaining. But the Trojans would come up empty on the offensive end in the final stretch, while Cal converted a 5-meter penalty shot and then found two more in the final minute — an even score and an empty net — to finish off a 14-10 win.

USC heads to Malibu next weekend to take on Pepperdine at 12 p.m. on Saturday (Oct. 22) in a nonconference clash.

- With two goals today, Ashworth Molthen has tallied five consecutive multiple-goal games; he leads the team with 13 multiple-goal games this season.
- With three goals today, Massimo Di Martire continues to lead USC and the MPSF in scoring this season, now with 42 goals.

#2 California 14, #5 USC 10
Oct. 15, 2022 | Spieker Aquatics Complex (Berkeley, Calif)
USC   1 - 3 - 2 - 4 = 10
CAL   4 - 2 - 3 - 5 = 14

USC — Massimo Di Martire 3, Carson Kranz 2, Ashworth Molthen 2, Marcus Longton, Andrej Grgurevic, Luka Brnetic.
CAL — Max Casabella 4, Jack Deely 3, Roberto Valera 3, Marko Valecic, Nikolaos Papanikolaou, Jake Howerton, Warren Loth.

SAVES: Kyle McKenney (USC) 9, Adrian Weinberg (CAL) 10.