USC water polo team wins 37th straight at home
While the No. 1 USC menâs water polo team had its 36 game winning streak snapped earlier this season, it has now replaced it with a new record.
The Trojans recorded their 37th consecutive win at home â a streak that dates back to the 2004 season â defeating No. 6 Loyola Marymount 11-4 Saturday. The win brings USC to 18-1 on the season and 5-0 in the conference.
The Trojans continued their dominance in a fashion that has become the norm this season â jumping out to an early lead and securing it for the rest of the match. Both senior driver Matthew Sagehorn and senior two-meter Shea Buckner had hat tricks, and sophomore driver Peter Kurzeka added two more goals.
âSetting the tone in the game, being the dominant team, really puts the other team back on their heels,â Sagehorn said. âIt lets you feel confident and a little more dominant over them.â
USC was able to set the pace of the match early, as two penalty shots converted by Buckner and goals from Kurzeka and Sagehorn put the Trojans ahead 4-1 after the first period.
The second period featured a flurry of shots from USC, and despite strong play from LMU goalkeeper Andy Stevens, the Trojans were able to find the net three more times. Sagehorn, redshirt junior driver Kyle Sterling and sophomore two-meter Matthew Burton accounted for the scores, and the Trojans entered the second half with a comfortable 7-2 advantage.
In the third, Buckner and Sagehorn were once again responsible for USCâs offensive attack, each tallying a goal. Sophomore goalie Joel Dennerley shut out the Lions in the period and recorded four saves in just three periods of play, bringing his season total to 119.
The Trojans got two more goals in the fourth period from senior driver Justin Rappel and redshirt freshman Brian Boswell, putting the game out of reach despite two late goals from LMUâs Andrew Aki.
âOur defense really starts with our goalie Joel Dennerley,â Sagehorn said. âHeâs amazing, he does really well, and heâs really a facilitator out there, and he lets us all know what is going on. Our goal every game is to not let the other team score more than four goals, and we accomplished that goal today.â
The Trojans will face No. 9 UC Santa Barbara next Thursday in Santa Barbara. The match marks the sixth consecutive game for USC in which it will play a top ten team, but Sagehorn said the Trojans know how to deal with challenges.
âItâs just focusing on your concentration and putting in the extra effort,â he said.
âIf we can concentrate on coming out focused, itâs gonna help us throughout the rest of the season.â