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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

USC Men's Water Polo Falls To UCLA 10-9 In Double OT

The No. 4 ranked USC men's water polo team fell to No. 2 ranked UCLA finishing off the regular season 23-4 overall and 5-3 in MPSF play. ATVN's Margaux Farrell reports.

The number four ranked USC men’s water polo team wrapped up its regular season in Westwood Thursday night. USC faced number two ranked UCLA with MPSF implications on the line.

It was a sold-out crowd at Spiekers Aquatic Center as the cross-town rivals faced off for the last time during the regular season. In their last meeting, USC defeated UCLA in overtime 12-11. Unfortunately, USC was unable to pull out the win, falling to UCLA 10-9 in the final seconds of double OT.

The Trojans are 2-2 in OT games, including their loss to the Stanford Caridnal on a buzzer-beater last week.

"Really unlucky at the end," said senior Mace Rapsey, "A lot of things we been doing bad the last couple of weeks we did a lot better tonight."

USC started strong, leading the first half 4-2. But UCLA came back with a vengeance to close the gap in the second, wrapping up regulation tied at 8.

UCLA freshman Jack Fellner hits buzzer-beater in double overtime.
UCLA freshman Jack Fellner hits buzzer-beater in double overtime.

"We had a 7-4 lead and we let them creep back into the game. We were doing a good job on offense and we stopped doing that," said senior Jermy Davie.

"We were a little tentative on offense, and we kind of got shut down a little bit," said Rapsey.

USC's defense has been a major weakness on the team this season, but was impressive in the first OT period. Neither team was able to secure a goal, and the game was sent to double OT.

UCLA scored first in the second OT period, but 17 seconds later, USC answered back and the game was tied again.

As time slipped away it seemed like déjà vu for the Trojans, and it was Stanford all over again.  This time, it was UCLA freshman, Jack Fellner, who shot it in for the win.

"We always talk about [how] defense wins championships. Going into to MPSF tournament it's all going to be about defense," said Davie. "We got one of the best offenses in the country, [and] we know we're going to get the job done at that end. It's all defense from here."

USC finishes the regular season 23-4 overall with two of those losses coming from UCLA. This was the last conference game for the Trojans, who fell to 5-3 in MPSF play.

Up next for USC is the MPSF tournament. The Trojans will head to Stockton, Calif. next week from Nov. 29-Dec. 1. The No. 4 Trojans will face No. 5 California on Nov. 29 at 3:00 p.m.

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