#5 Men's Water Polo Falls To #1 USC

#5 Men's Water Polo Falls To #1 USC

STOCKTON, Calif. - No. 1 Southern Cal jumped out to an early lead on the No. 5 Pacific men's water polo team on Sunday, and held on for an 11-7 win. Luke Pavillard scored three goals for the Tigers, while Ben Stevenson added two goals.

Goalie Alen Osmanovic came off the bench to record six saves in the second half as Pacific rallied for five second half goals.

But the Trojans stated with a 4-0 lead and unloaded a 5-0 second quarter for a 9-2 halftime lead.

James Edwards and Thomas Dunstan scored power-play goals to give USC a 2-0 lead, before Lachlan Edwards added a pair of goals for a 4-0. Stevenson got the Tigers on the board, ringing it off the post and in. Pavillard followed on the Tigers next possession, with a cross-cage goal to pull within 4-2.

But the second quarter was all Trojans as they seized control with five goals for a 9-2 halftime lead.

In the third, Thumwood capped a power-play with a snipe from six meters out and Pavillard followed with a five-meter penalty shot, beating McQuin Baron high to bring the Tigers within 9-4.

Osmanovic made five saves in the third quarter, but Grant Stein and Marko Vavic extended the Trojan lead to 11-4 after the third.

The fourth quarter was all Pacific, as Pavillard scored his third with a skip shot through the defense and into the back of the net. Pavillard picked up a steal in the Tigers two-meter, and fired a long outlet pass to Andres Schmidt, who buried a cross-cage shot from four meters away.

Stevenson added a five-meter penalty shot to bring Pacific within 11-7, but the Tigers were out of time to comeback.

Pacific falls to 15-5 overall, while USC improves to 22-2. The Tigers finished 1-for-7 on the power-play. Pacific had beaten USC in the previous two regular season home games against the Trojans, in 2013 and 2015.

Baron finished with 15 saves in goal for USC, becoming the second goalie in MPSF history to reach 1000 career saves, joining Pacific All-American Alex Malkis, who recorded 1057 from 2010-13.

The Tigers will visit No. 11 San Jose State on Friday in the Golden Coast Conference finale before returning to Chris Kjeldsen Pool for the regular season finale on Saturday, Nov. 11, against No. 9 UC Davis.