Nov. 7, 2009
LOS ANGELES - The top-ranked USC men's water polo team outscored fourth-ranked UCLA 2-0 in the fourth quarter to claim a 7-6 victory in front of an over-capacity crowd at UCLA's Spieker Aquatics Center on Saturday evening.
Senior Scott Davidson scored three of his game-high four goals in the third quarter to help the Bruins attain a one-goal advantage after trailing by two in the second quarter, but goals by USC's Matthew Burton and Kyle Sterling sealed the win for the Trojans.
USC led for the entire first half, drawing first blood on a power-play goal by Burton. After being stymied early by USC goalkeeper Joel Dennerley, who had four saves in the first three minutes of the game, UCLA got one through with 3:07 to play on the first of Davidson's four goals. The Trojans opened the second quarter with two unanswered goals to claim a 3-1 lead, but UCLA used a power play goal by Cullen Hennessy with 37 seconds remaining in the half to trim the lead to 3-2 at the half.
The third quarter was dominated by Davidson, who scored his second goal with 6:57 left in the quarter to tie the game at 3-3. USC reclaimed the lead 21 seconds later on a Shea Buckner goal, but Davidson answered once again just 30 seconds after that to tie. Davidson then gave UCLA its first lead of the game at the 3:41 mark on an exclusion goal. USC evened things out with 1:31 left in the quarter after a goal by Justin Rappel, but UCLA's Emilio Vieira gave UCLA a 6-5 advantage with six seconds remaining in the third.
USC was fairly quick to quell the Bruins' momentum, tying things up with 6:22 on the clock on a goal by Burton. With the score knotted at 6-6, both teams' defenses clamped down, with few clear shot attempts being allowed. UCLA goalkeeper Chay Lapin made a big save on a Jordan Thompson shot from two meters with 1:42 left in the game to keep it even, but with 39 seconds remaining, Sterling scored what proved to be the game-winner for USC. UCLA had a final chance to tie the game and send it into overtime after earning an exclusion with 21 seconds remaining, but Davidson's shot in the final seconds was stopped by a USC defender.
UCLA's Lapin had nine saves in the contest, while USC's Dennerley had 10, including five in the first quarter. Davidson's season-high four goals in the contest give him a career total of 141 and move him into seventh place past Bruin head coach Adam Wright on UCLA's all-time scoring list.
USC increases its winning streak to 13 games and its overall record to 20-1, 6-0 in the MPSF. UCLA drops to 18-6, 4-3 in conference play.
No. 1 USC at No. 4 UCLA
USC Goals: Matthew Burton 2, Shea Buckner 2, Kyle Sterling, Justin Rappel, Jordan Thompson
USC Saves: Joel Dennerley 10