For five consecutive seasons, every program has practiced, prepared and battled their way to a national title and for five consecutive seasons, Southern California has emerged victorious.
The Trojans, led by coach Jovan Vavic, return the bulk of their roster from last season’s championship squad, including Nikola Vavic, Kostas Genidounias, Jeremy Davie and Mace Rapsey.
While Stanford, Pacific, UCLA and California are all top-notch squads, the No. 1-ranked Trojans will be a favorite to win their sixth-consecutive national title.
I caught up with Coach Vavic prior to his team’s four wins this weekend, which extended their winning streak to thirty-eight consecutive games.
Freeman: USC has won five consecutive national titles and returns a number of key contributors from last year's squad. What is your biggest challenge heading into this campaign?
Coach Vavic: “Our biggest challenge is to stay hungry. We need to work hard in practice and make sure our younger players are ready to step in, as we did lose some standouts.”
One of your team's biggest strengths is its depth. How will you use that this fall?
“We try to play all our players who are ready to play. We need to find the right rotations and formula. We expect to play 12 to 13 guys.”
Your son, Nikola Vavic, is one of the best left-handed players in the country. What makes him so great?
“He is very intelligent and he sees the pool better than any player I have ever coached. He can finish and pass. Nikola has led the team in assists the past three seasons. He also has a nice post-up game and is an effective driver.”
Jeremy Davie is also outstanding, and I think he is one of the best three or four two-meters in the country. What makes him so good?
“Jeremy is a very determined player who works hard and will never quit. Keep an eye on a freshman named Jon Walters. He might be the best two-meter in the country.”