After capping a 22-1 season and an undefeated record in conference play with a win over UC Irvine on Saturday, the No. 1 Trojans are staying in the comfort of their own home as they enter the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament with the top seed.
The Trojans will ride a 39-game home winning streak, as well as a 15-game overall winning streak, into McDonald’s Swim Stadium, when they face the No. 8 seed (yet to be determined) on Friday.
USC’s winning streaks were challenged over the last month with difficult matches against UC Santa Barbara, UCLA, Stanford and Irvine, but, behind strong defensive attacks and a couple of key plays, the Trojans were able to maintain their perfect conference record.
For the seniors who have led the Trojans throughout the season, this tournament marks the last time they will compete in a conference event. Since 2006, the first year the group was together, USC has gone 96-6, winning one NCAA tournament (2008) and placing second in two others (2006 and 2007). The Trojans also won the MPSF tournament the last two years.
Last year, the Trojans fared well in the MPSF tournament, beating Irvine and UCLA to advance to the championship match against Pepperdine. In the title match, senior two-meter Shea Buckner scored on a buzzer-beater to put USC up 3-2, lifting the Trojans to a 27-0 record and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Championships, which they eventually swept as well.
The Trojans will finish their postseason with the NCAA tournament, which takes place a week after the MPSF tournament.