Nov. 17, 2008


Courtesy of USC Athletics

PALO ALTO, CALIF. -- The top-ranked USC men's water polo team put the finishing touches on an undefeated regular season and clinched the top seed in the MPSF with today's tight 6-5 win over No. 3 Stanford. The Trojans first ran their 2008 win streak up to 23 straight with a 22-2 win over UC Santa Cruz on Friday before taking on the Cardinal today in an MPSF clash. To get to that perfect 24-0 mark on the year and an 8-0 MPSF finish with the MPSF Tournament coming up in two weeks, USC had to stage a comeback effort against Stanford to claim a 6-5 win.

Tied up 4-4 entering the fourth period of play, USC took its first lead of the game on a score from Justin Rappel with just 2:43 left in regulation. Peter Kurzeka followed suit with his second goal of the day at 1:28 to take USC ahead 6-5. Stanford climbed within one on its next possession, only to see USC goalie Joel Dennerley slam away a Cardinal 6-on-5 chance with just a second left to secure the win for the Trojans. That gave Dennerley a whopping 13 saves in the match to help anchor another tough Trojan defensive stand.

USC got behind 3-1 in the first period and trailed 4-3 at halftime before blanking Stanford in the third frame while pulling even at 4-4. That brought up USC's fourth-period comeback push to victory.

In capping off this winning weekend to hold a 24-0 overall record, the Trojans mark their second undefeated regular-season stretch in three years. In 2006, USC posted its first undefeated regular season since men's water polo became an NCAA sport in 1969 with a 23-0 run through the regular season. USC went 5-0 in 1944 -- long before the NCAA recognized the sport. No NCAA team has posted an undefeated overall record since California went 31-0 in 1992.

#1 USC 6, #3 Stanford 5 (Saturday, Nov. 15)
USC 1 - 2 - 1 - 2 -- 6
STAN 3 - 1 - 0 - 1 -- 5

USC -- Peter Kurzeka 2, Justin Rappel 2, Shea Buckner, Matt Sagehorn.
STAN -- J. Wigo 3, Sa. Wright 2.

SAVES: Joel Dennerley (USC) 13, Sandman (STAN) 6.


#1 USC 22, UC Santa Cruz 2 (Friday, Nov. 14)
USC 8 - 6 - 6 - 2 -- 22
UCSC 1 - 0 - 1 - 0 -- 2

USC -- J.W. Krumpholz 3, Kevin May 3, Peter Kurzeka 2, Elliott Samuels 2, Jordan Thompson 2, Anthony Artukovich 2, Justin Rappel, Matt Sagehorn, Nico Sardo, Devon Borisoff, Jovan Vranes, Arjan Ligtenberg, Matthew Burton, Ryan Cummins.
UCSC -- n/a.

SAVES: Joel Dennerley (USC) 2, Ben Weil (USC) 5, UCSC n/a.