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Men's Water Polo Team Falls to Defending Champ USC in National Semifinals

By: Princeton Athletic Communications
          Release: 12/03/2011
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Courtesy: Dan Avila

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BERKELEY, Calif. (12/3/11) - The three-time defending National Champion USC Trojans proved too much for the Princeton men's water polo team in Saturday's National Collegiate Semifinal at Cal's Spieker Aquatics Center as the tournament's top defeated the Tigers 17-4.

USC scored the game's first two goals from Peter Zurzeka but a couple of saves from Princeton goalie Ben Dearborn and a few shots off the posts kept the Tigers within striking distance. Princeton's attempts to slow the game down proved effective at first but the Trojans adjusted and were able to score six first-half counter goals to build an early lead. Princeton's first goal of the game came late in the first period when Connor Still scored on an exclusion with two seconds left in the quarter.

The Trojans continued its run to start the second quarter and scored five straight goals to build a 9-1 lead before Thomas Nelson scored his first of three goals on an exclusion. Princeton trailed 10-2 at the half.

Nelson would add two more goals in the loss, scoring once in the third quarter and once in the fourth, but in the end, the top-seeded Trojans were too strong for the Tigers in the 17-4 win.

Dearborn made 11 saves in three quarters of the loss, while Tyler Amina had two saves in the final quarter. Tommy Donahue and Kurt Buchbinder added assists in the game.

Princeton falls to 21-10 with the loss. The Tigers will look to bounce back and end their season with a win in the third-place game tomorrow at 1 p.m. Pacific Time. The Tigers will face the loser of today's second semifinal between UCLA and UC San Diego.

USC 4 6 4 3 - 17
PRIN 1 1 1 1 - 4

Goals: Nelson 3, Still 1.
Assists: Buchbinder 1, Donahue 1.
Saves: Dearborn 11 (24:00), Amina 2 (8:00)

 

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