After compiling a perfect 29-0 record en route to winning its fifth consecutive national championship, the 2012 USC men’s water polo team figured to receive plenty of consideration during the awards season.
And it did: the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches announced Tuesday that eight USC players — seven of whom already lay claim to 2012 All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation awards — earned All-American honors.
Junior driver Nikola Vavic, junior goalie James Clarke and senior driver Michael Rosenthal captured first-team All-American honors, while sophomore driver Kostas Genidounias and junior two-meter Mace Rapsey earned second and third team honors, respectively. A trio of veteran Trojan stalwarts — senior two-meter Matt Burton, junior two-meter Jeremy Davie and senior driver Stephen Siri — rounded out USC’s All-American honorees, with each player earning honorable mention.
Nikola Vavic, who also won the ACWPC’s player of the year award, appears poised to collect even more hardware as the prohibitive favorite for the coveted Cutino Award, given annually to collegiate water polo’s best player. The three-time All-American broke USC’s single-season scoring record with 83 goals, breaking a previous mark that had stood since 1988, and additionally chipped in a team-leading 65 assists. Now fourth on USC’s all-time scoring list with still another season to play, Nikola Vavic’s nomination makes it nine consecutive years in which USC has had a Cutino Award finalist. The winner will be announced June 1.
Not to be outdone, USC coach Jovan Vavic — Nikola’s father — won the ACWPC’s coach of the year award after completing just USC’s second undefeated season and first since 2008. The fiery coach now boasts a 420-64 career record at USC — a robust .867 winning percentage. Between coaching both the men’s and women’s teams, Jovan Vavic has accumulated 11 national championships, won 11 ACWPC coach of the year awards and has coached 10 Cutino Award winners. Recognizing his unprecedented string of success, USA Water Polo appointed Jovan Vavic interim head coach of the USC Men’s Senior National Team on Nov. 20.