STOCKTON, CALIF. -- USC came through in the clutch, topping off a powerful run at the 2013 MPSF Championships with a 10-8 victory against Stanford in the title match. The big win secures USC with an automatic bid into the coming NCAA Championships, where the Trojans will go in pursuit of a sixth consecutive national championship. As the No. 4 team in the nation, winning the MPSF crown was quite possibly the only route for the Trojans to score a spot at NCAAs. USC was all business, dropping top-seeded Pacific in the semifinals before taking out the Cardinal today in the MPSF final. USC is now 26-4 overall and has pocketed its ninth all-time MPSF Tournament title.
To get this one in the books, the Trojans had to avenge a buzzer-beater loss taken to the Cardinal two weeks earlier, and USC was ready to make a statement. The Trojans had already made their war cry in the semifinals with a dominant win against No. 1 Pacific. On Sunday, USC gave up the first goal of the game, but fought onward and upward, equalizing on a Jeremy Davie strike and cruising out ahead 3-1 on scores from Jon Walters and Mace Rapsey. James Clark held court in the cage, and although the Cardinal pulled within one to open the second, USC took charge as Kostas Genidounias and Nikola Vavic rifled in scores to pad out the lead once more. Stanford got one to go before halftime, only to see USC answer from Vavic once more to cash USC in with a 6-3 halftime advantage.
In the third, Stanford got the first goal of the frame to go again, and that would prompt USC to make another surge. The Trojans built up a 9-4 lead on the Cardinal to remain solidly in the driver's seat. Down the stretch, Clark reigned supreme and snatched a pile of saves to wrap things up on a winning note for the Trojans. He'd finish up with 16 saves for the Trojan cause in USC's 10-8 win over Stanford.
Pacific 10, UCLA 9
STOCKTON, Calif. -- Pacific never trailed as the Tigers downed UCLA 10-9 on Sunday at Chris Kjeldsen Pool to take third place in the MPSF tournament.
Senior goalkeeper Alex Malkis made 13 saves, including a pair of five-meter penalty shot blocks. Goran Tomasevic and Kevin Oliveira each scored three times, while Balazs Erdelyi added a pair and Krisztian Laczkovics and Alex Obert each found the back of the net.
Pacific improves to 22-4 overall, while UCLA falls to 28-4. A crowd of 1,026 attended the game
Both teams will await the NCAA selections, to be announced on Sunday evening.
Southern California won the MPSF title and earned the automatic bid, while two additional MPSF teams will likely advance to at least an NCAA play-in game. The NCAA field remains at four teams, but two play-in games have been added, which will feature seeds three through six. The play-in games are on Thursday, at Stanford, with the semifinals on Saturday.
California 17, Long Beach State 8
STOCKTON, Calif. -- Sophomore Colin Mulcahy and junior Aleksa Saponjic each recorded four goals as California had another dominating performance at the 2013 MPSF tournament, defeating Long Beach State 17-8 in the league championship’s fifth-place match on Sunday. The win improves the Golden Bears’ season record to 18-8.
Against the 49ers, the Bears got top scoring performances from seniors Collin Smith and Hunter Gettelfinger with two goals apiece, while freshman Farrel South notched a pair of goals as well. Senior Giacomo Cupido, junior Luka Ivanovic and freshman Chandler Jarrels-Stickney added single goals, and senior goalie Michael Boggan finished with five saves.
Cal had jumped out to a 3-1 first-period lead on goals by Mulcahy, Saponjic and South. Both squads scored four times in the second quarter to put the Bears ahead 7-5 at the half. Cal then ran away with the contest in the second half, outscoring Long Beach State 4-1 in the third period and 6-2 in the fourth period.
“It was a nice way to end the season,” Everist said. “I was proud of the team’s effort and mentality during the tournament. The seniors ended on a high note.”
Smith, a 2012 first-team All-American, finished his Cal career with 140 goals and had eight goals in the 2013 MPSF tournament. He joins Cupido as one of two members of the 2013 squad who played in the 2010 NCAA final against Southern California.