Sept. 12, 2010

 

Courtesy of USC

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - The No. 4 USC men's water polo team splashed down in its home waters of McDonald's Swim Stadium for the Trojans' home opener today and served up a 16-4 win over visiting No. 10 Long Beach State. Junior Matt Burton opened the scoring and finished up on top with a game-high four goals for USC, while freshman Jeremy Davie  blasted a hat trick on the day. The win pulls USC to a 3-0 start to the season, with a match against No. 8 LMU set for tomorrow (Sept. 12) in Westchester, Calif.

Burton kicked things off by finishing off a slick passing series as the ball weaved through Tobias Preuss and Nikola Vavic before Burton drilled USC's opening goal. Burton would earn a power play for USC soon after, and Vavic delivered to take the Trojans ahead 2-0. Long Beach State closed the gap to 2-1 on a 6-on-5 strike of its own, but that was as close as the 49ers would ever get down the stretch.

USC peppered the Long Beach State goal with five more goals before the close of the first frame, as Brian Boswell got the turn at set for a score that set USC off on a scoring blitz. Newcomers Davie and Mace Rapsey both rifled in strikes to the back of the net in the run, while Burton worked his way into a hat trick in the first period. Meanwhile, Joel Dennerley shut down the 49ers from the cage with four first-period saves -- including a slamming stop on a backhand try - to stake his claim on the No. 8 all-time slot on the USC career saves charts. Dennerley's fourth save of the game gave him sole possession of No. 8. And with three more saves in the second period, Dennerley's career count stands at 430 to put him seven shy of the No. 7 spot.
 
Long Beach State punched a second goal through after USC had worked ahead 8-1 on another Davie score assisted by Vavic. The 49ers converted on a 6-on-5 midway through the second to make it 8-2, only to see Michael Rosenthal and Rex Butler jump in the scoring column for the Trojans. Vavic set up one more Trojan goal in the final minute when he found Davie on a USC 6-on-5 to pull the Trojans ahead 11-2 for halftime.

Burton's fourth of the day came early in the third when Preuss sailed a swift cross to Burton for the score and a 12-2 USC advantage. The teams would trade goals in the remaining time during the third, as the 49ers broke through with another power play score before Zayne Belal put the finishing touches on a USC counterattack, making it 13-3. Long Beach State's Nick Rascon tallied his second goal of the day with 3:30 remaining in the third, and USC held a 13-4 advantage going into the final period. There, Max Hurst-Mendoza and Billy Evashwick became the two newest Trojans to get on the board in the game, and Boswell closed things down with a bar-in strike. Thanks to more stifling USC defense and saves from second-half goalie Will Simon, the Trojans held the 49ers scoreless in the fourth to wrap up a 16-4 victory.