University of the Paific's men's water polo team faces USC noon Saturday at Kjeldsen Pool.
No. 3 Pacific Men's Water Polo Plays Host To No. 1 USC Saturday
The Pacific men's water polo team takes on No. 1 USC noon Saturday at Kjeldsen Pool in a battle of top-three teams. The Tigers, 15-3 overall, 2-1 MPSF, sit a game back of USC (20-1, 3-0 MPSF) in the conference standings.
Pacific has opened MPSF play with the top four other teams in the country: No. 4 Stanford, No. 5 Cal, No. 2 UCLA and now the top-ranked Trojans. The Tigers have also met USC and Stanford in non-conference play to hold a 3-3 record against Top Five opponents this season.
With the highest ranking in the polls in program history, the Tigers look to send a message that they are national title contenders against the Trojans, the five-time defending National Champions.
At the SoCal Tournament, then No. 2 ranked USC topped Pacific 10-6 in the semifinals before the Trojans' come-back win over UCLA to reclaim the top spot in the polls.
Pacific will be playing just its fourth home game of the season, putting its 3-0 mark on the line Saturday. The Tigers have downed No. 14 Santa Clara, No. 3 Stanford and No. 18 Bucknell at Kjeldsen Pool this season.
With seven goals in his last two games, senior Balazs Erdelyi continues to lead Pacific in scoring with 60 goals on the year, second in the MPSF. Senior Goran Tomasevic has added 49 goals and ranks fifth in scoring in the MPSF.
Pacific has three other players averaging over a goal per game, junior Alex Obert with 33 (11th in MPSF), senior Kevin Oliveira with 26 (21st in MPSF), and sophomore Kristian Laczkovics with 20. As a team, the Tigers average 15.11 goals per game, the second-highest scoring offense in the conference.
Senior goalkeeper Alex Malkis ranks second in the MPSF in saves per game, with 12.67 per four quarters.
USC ranks first in the MPSF in scoring offense, averaging 17.29 goals per game. Nikola Vavic paces the Trojans with 58 goals (sixth in MPSF) with junior Kostas Genidounias just behind at 56 goals (seventh in MPSF). Senior Connor Virjee has tallied 39 goals (10th) while Mace Rapsey has chipped in 29 (20th).
Senior goalkeeper James Clark averages 8.81 saves per game for the Trojans and leads MPSF with a 5.49 goals against average.
The game will be streamed live on Pacific Tigers TV at PacificTigers.com.