Water polo looks to extend eight-game win streak

Sophomore utility Fanni Muzsnay is sixth on the team in goals, scoring 22 throughout her first season with the Trojans. (Drake Lee | Daily Trojan)

The No. 2 ranked USC women’s water polo team will look to continue their streak of dominance against No. 20 ranked San Jose State Saturday. 

The Trojans are undefeated at home and currently hold a 20-1 record, with their lone loss to No. 1 ranked Stanford. The Spartans are 12-13 overall and have yet to beat a Pac-12 or top 15-ranked opponent. 

Head Coach Marko Pintaric said the team’s success has been the product of strong team chemistry with a mix of new talent and veteran experience. 

“It’s a real balanced team,” Pintaric said. “We have great leadership. With our upperclassman seniors leading the team and leading by example and younger players following it’s showing with 20 wins and one loss and that loss was a very, very close loss.”

Freshman utility Morgan Netherton said the leadership provided by the upperclassmen has helped her thrive in her role. 

“I am a freshman, and it’s not a light undertaking, especially getting in the big games with the older girls because I have so much respect for them and I look up to them as role models,” Netherton said. “They’re definitely on my case about things, and they hold me to a very high standard, which I appreciate because they treat me like they’re equal, which I am.”

Redshirt senior utility Bayley Weber attributes her stellar production to the team’s culture of selflessness. 

“Everybody wants the same goal, and I think it’s everybody’s playing the team sport: Rather than the ‘I’, it’s the ‘We,’” Weber said. “I’m only the team’s top scorer because my teammates have put me in that position. They do all the dirty work, and they just put me in the position to put the ball in the back cage.”

Last year, the team finished runner-up to Stanford and won the national title the year before. With the NCAA tournament on the horizon, Pintaric has set his team’s focus on improving with each game. 

“We always treat every game the same,” Pintaric said. “We always respect our opponent. Our goal is obviously to try to win as many games as possible, but then again, to play in every segment of a water polo game to keep improving, and those segments, obviously defense, offensive transition, power plays and so that’s where the focus is overall.”

The Trojans have never lost to the Spartans ever since the two first sparred back in 2013, boasting a flawless 14-0 record with an average margin of victory of 10.6. 

USC will face off against San Jose State at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center.