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California native Kurt Buchbinder and the Tigers will look to find their stride this weekend.
Courtesy: Beverly Schaefer

California Dreaming: USC, SoCal Tournament On Deck for Men's Water Polo

By: Princeton Athletic Communications
          Release: 09/27/2012
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Five games in Southern California await the No. 16 Princeton men's water polo team, as the squad squares off with No. 1 USC (9-0, 1-0 MPSF) on Friday, Sept. 28 at 3 p.m. ET, before heading to the UC Santa Barbara-hosted SoCal Tournament from Sept. 29-30. The Tigers (7-4, 2-1 Southern) open the tournament with No. 3 Stanford (3-1) on Saturday at 1:40 p.m. ET.

Please note all times on GoPrincetonTigers.com are listed Eastern Standard Time.

SoCal Tournament Central l @PUTIGERS l @Pwaterpolo

Last Time Out: The Tigers opened up CWPA Southern Division play last weekend on the road, going 2-1. The Tigers defeated George Washington, 7-5, and Johns Hopkins, 9-6, and dropped a 13-10 decision to then-No. 17 Navy.

National Ranking: Princeton dropped a place to No. 16 in the CWPA Men's Varsity Top-20 Poll with 24 votes.

SoCal Tournament: The Tigers are in Bracket C at this weekend's SoCal Tournament. In addition to opening round opponent third-ranked Stanford, the pool also features No. 6 host-UC Santa Barbara and No. 11 UC San Diego. All bracket seeding was based off of the Sept. 19 CWPA Coaches Poll.

Overcoming Ranked Foes: This weekend the Tigers will faces two top-three teams in top-ranked USC and No. 3 Stanford. All four losses suffered this season have been to ranked teams, so Princeton will look to overcome its hurdle versus top-20 opponents this weekend.

Scouting No. 1 Southern California: For the fourth consecutive week USC remains the unanimous top ranked team in the nation. Southern Cal (9-0, 1-0 MPSF) has defeated four ranked teams, including a 7-6 edging over both then-No. 2 UCLA and then-No. 4 Cal. USC is outscoring opponents 133-40, with Nicola Vavic leading the offense with 27 goals. In goal, Ely Bonilla has played the bulk of the Trojans' minutes, averaging a 4.4 goals against average and tallying 44 saves and 23 goals against.

Scouting No. 3 Stanford: The Cardinal of No. 3 Stanford just opened their 2012 campaign last weekend, going 3-1 en route to finishing third at the NorCal Tournament. Stanford has only played ranked teams this year, earning victories over then-No. 3 Cal, then-No. 5 UCSB and then-No. 14 Santa Clara. The Cardinal lone loss was 10-9 in overtime to USC. Alex Bowen leads the offense with four goals, while goalie Scott Platshon has allowed 25 goals against for a 7.69 goals against average.

Scouting No. 11 UC San Diego: No. 11 UC San Diego is coming off a 10-8 victory over No. 10 Loyola Marymount on Sept. 26. The Tritons (5-3, 5-1 WWPA) are 3-3 versus ranked opponents this year. In goal, Cameron Ravanbach has played in all eight games, tallying 49 saves. Offensively, Josh Stiling has 15 goals and John Butler has 12 assists, for team-bests in each category.

Scouting No. 6 UC Santa Barbara: Sixth-ranked UC Santa Barbara returns home to host this weekend's tournament behind a 9-2 record. All 11 opponents the Gauchos have faced this year have been nationally ranked, with their losses coming to then-No. 4 Stanford and then-No. 6 UC Irvine in overtime. Matt Gronow leads the offense with 28 goals and 13 assists. Primary goalie Myles Christian has tallied 72 saves, a 6.1 goals against average and allowed 41 goals in nine starts.

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