College NCAA Water Polo (Men)

USC Water Polo team holds top spot

Photo: Catharyn Hayne / KLC fotos

After last week’s matches, USC Trojans climbed to the top spot, while Cal Bears emerged as ranked 2nd. UCLA took the 3rd place, and Stanford held the 4th spot.

Previous week saw all four water polo teams record some tough and important victories over their opponents.


On October 5, no. 1 USC Trojans hosted Long Beach State, while on October 8 they traveled to Santa Barbara.

Even though Long Beach State water polo players never managed to take over the lead from the Trojans, USC squad struggled to record another triumph. The 49ers tied the result on three occasions demonstrating that they are strong enough to keep parity with the top-ranked USC team. After the hosts finished the first period with a 2:0 lead, thanks to Matt Maier and Bryce Hoerman, LBS then equalized in the following quarter. The halftime result was tied (3:3). In the third quarter, Trojans went ahead 5:3 finally reaching a two-goal advantage, but the 49ers equalized again. Trojan Marin Dasic brought his team another minimal advantage before the final eight minutes (6:5). USC had their hopes high when they raised the difference to three in the fourth period, but LBS failed to surrender and achieved another tie by the end of the regular time (8:8). The match went into overtime when the Trojans proved to be stronger and celebrated their 17th win this season. The game’s top scorer was 49er Keegan Wicken who scored 5 goals, while Maier, Dasic and James Walters each netted a pair for USC.

(2:0, 1:3, 3:2, 2:3 – 1:0, 2:1)

Led by Lachlan and Blake Edwards, who each added a pair, USC water polo team defeated Santa Barbara, 6:3. It was not until the third minute of the second period when Gauchos scored their first goal. USC squad had already accomplished a four-goal advantage, and Santa Barbara water polo players were unable to overcome that. After the Trojans demonstrated power in the first half (5:1) the third quarter saw no goals. Gauchos woke up in the final period but only managed to cut down the deficit to three.

(2:0, 3:1, 0:1, 1:2)


In the closest encounter this week, UCLA Bruins prevailed over Pepperdine, 8:7. UCLA squad got off to a better start. They went ahead 4:1 in the first quarter which turned out to be crucial for the triumph. Waves woke up and threatened the Bruins, but it was too late for a comeback. UCLA kept their defense on point until the end of the game. Pepperdine was able to keep parity and the second and the third period ended in a draw. UCLA had a three-goal advantage before the fourth quarter, but failed to score. Their rival only netted two goals and was down by one with one and a half minute left on the clock. UCLA Bruins resisted, Pepperdine had two more attempts but they were both unsuccessful. The top scorer Chasen Travisano recorded a hat trick, while Max Irving added two goals. On the other side, Marko Asic and Mark Urban also each netted a pair for Pepperdine.

(4:1, 3:3, 1:1, 0:2)


Cal Bears triumphed at home over Santa Clara water polo club, 21:9, in a non-MPSF game. Hosts took the lead when Odysseas Masmanidis netted the opener, followed by a pair of goals scored by Johnny Hooper. Broncos then stroke back and brought down the deficit to one, but Cal water polo players stepped up their game and responded with Reid’s two goals. They had a two-goal advantage after the first eight minutes of the game (5:3) and kept on increasing it in the second quarter allowing their opponent to net only one more goal before halftime (14:4). The winner was already obvious, so Bears took their foot off the gas in the second half. However, their defense remained on point and Santa Clara water polo squad was completely overpowered.

(5:3, 9:1, 5:3, 2:2)


In a derby between no. 4 Stanford and no. 5 Pacific water polo club, Cardinal recorded a nice 12:7 win. Devon Thumwood scored the first goal putting the Tigers into the lead, but Hallock immediately responded. Luis Araya then quickly put Pacific ahead 2:1, and Sawyer Rhodes netted an equalizer two minutes later. Thumwood scored his second goal 45 seconds before the end of the first quarter, and Stanford water polo players were down by one after eight minutes of play. Then both teams took turns in scoring and the result was tied at halftime (5:5). The third period was as suspenseful as the previous one, and none of the teams managed to achieve and advantage bigger than one. However, Stanford entered the final quarter with a one-goal lead (7:6) and stepped up their game. They went ahead 9:6 with five minutes left until the end of the game, while the Tigers seemed tired and helpless. After three minutes without goals, Cody Smith increased his squad’s lead to four two minutes before the end, and it became clear who would be the winner. Ben Hallock, Connor Stapleton and Smith each recorded a hat trick, as well as did Thumwood for Pacific.

(2:3, 3:2, 2:1, 5:1)

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