This week, the Trojans are back where they started this season — as the number one team in the land. USC and UCLA exchanged spots in the latest NCAA rankings after the Trojans took down the Bruins 12-11 in overtime this past weekend.
“The match was very similar to the environment of last year’s national championship game and in some ways, it was even more exciting with Kostas tying the game at the end of regulation,” head coach Jovan Vavic said.
With the win, USC (17-1) brought home its second consecutive SoCal Tournament title and will attempt to take that momentum into this Saturday as the squad prepares for a pair of home matches against nonconference opponents Loyola Marymount and Cal Lutheran at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center.
With his goal in the semifinal match last weekend against then-No. 3 Pacific, senior Nikola Vavic surpassed Juraj Zatovic to become USC’s all-time leading scorer.
“I’m very proud since of all of our players, I’ve been toughest on him,” Vavic said of his son. “That was a very tough record to break, and he’s been an all-around great player for our program.”
The team is currently 1-0 in conference play after defeating No. 9 UC Irvine at home, 18-7, on Oct. 5. This weekend’s doubleheader will be a break in MPSF competition.
Loyola Marymount (10-9) is ranked No. 13 in this week’s NCAA poll, while Cal Lutheran (8-11) is unranked.
The Trojans defeated LMU, 21-7, earlier in the year at the UC San Diego Triton Invitational. The Lions are coming off a 1-3 weekend at the SoCal tournament with a win against Santa Clara, 11-10, and losses to St. Francis Brooklyn, 12-7, and UC San Diego, 9-7. They are led by Milutin Mitrovic, who has 46 goals and 28 assists.
USC has never lost to LMU and is a perfect 21-0 against them all-time. USC (17-1) carries a 41-game home winning streak into this weekend’s action.
It will be a long day for Cal Lutheran, who will play a conference match at Chapman University at 11 a.m. before traveling north to take on the Trojans. The Kingsmen are coming off a 10-7 loss to Pomona-Pitzer. USC defeated Cal Lutheran, 21-9, in their only ever meeting last year.
The Trojans will play the Lions at 1 p.m. before jumping right back in the pool to take on the Kingsmen at 3 p.m.
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