Men’s water polo to face No. 3 Cal

The top-ranked Trojans host a crucial conference clash this weekend with No. 3 Cal coming to town on . Saturday. On Sunday, the Trojans will head south to No. 11 UC Irvine in a nonconference matchup.

Now 26 games into the season, USC is ready to face off again against the Golden Bears, who the Trojans defeated in their last meetup, 13-6.  

Cal enters the week 16-3 overall and currently holds a two-game winning streak. Calis led by senior attacker Johnny Hooper with 39 goals, whileunior goalie Bernardo Carelli is averaging 10.8 saves and 8.7 goals-against per game.

Overall, USC is 62-57-2 all-time against Cal. The Trojans beat the Golden Bears 13-6 in the semifinals of the Mountain Pacific Invitational last month.

UC Irvine currently holds an 8-11 overall record after an 11-10 win over San Jose State and a 16-10 loss to Stanford last week. The Anteaters will face UC Santa Barbara on Saturday before USC on Sunday. Sophomore utiliy Jason Evezard lead the Anteaters in scoring with 53 goals. Redshirt senior goalie Byron Rivershas been averaging 11.5 saves and 9.3 goals-against per game in 16 appearances. This will be the first meeting between the two teams this season but overall USC is 73-29 all-time against UC Irvine with wins in the past 31 meetings

“For our upcoming match, our main focus is improving on our defense and continuing to strength our communication,” Daube said.

USC wrapped up their 2017 season at No. 2 in the land and reaching the NCAA final. Their 2018 season started with the Trojans  holding strong at No. 2 in the preseason national rankings. It took the Trojans one week to bump up into a tie at the top seed in the nation. In week two, USC took the reigns and remained at No. 1 until an Oct. 6 loss against Stanford, which moved USC to No. 3 on Oct. 10. As of Oct. 17, after competing against the Cardinal and securing a win, USC took back the top ranking.

The season could not have been successful without the presence of USC’s freshman class, with three different Trojans combining forces to claim seven consecutive MPSF Newcomer of the Week awards in nine weeks. Freshmen driver Hannes Daube picked up his first award as a Trojan on Sept. 10  after he scored 12 goals with 11 assists and seven steals across five USC wins in the second week of action. The following week, freshmen goalie Sam Krutonog took the honors on Sept. 17 after setting an early career high for himself with 10 saves. Finally USC’s third notable freshmen is goalie Nic Porter who earned MPSF Newcomer of the Week. On Sept. 24, after making 14 saves in a full game’s work during an 11-8 win over No. 6 Pacific.