Trojans dominate Gauchos in home opener

first_imgIt was a top-five matchup in the Uytengsu Aquatics Center on Saturday, when No. 4 USC took on No. 5 UC Santa Barbara. In the Trojans’ (12-2, 2-0 MPSF) first game at home this season after playing on the road for four straight weeks, the team took out the Gauchos by a final score of 14-5.Newbie · Freshman goalkeeper McQuin Baron continued his domination against the Gauchos, recording 12 saves. Baron now has 102 in his career. – Mariya Dondonyan | Daily TrojanUCSB opened the scoring with a 6-on-5 goal, but USC responded quickly with two goals of its own to take a 2-1 lead. The Trojans went on a 5-0 scoring run soon after, and their lead was 9-2 at the half. In the third, the Trojans and Gauchos split two goals apiece, making the score 11-4 at the end of the period. USC was in complete control in the fourth frame, scoring three goals to the Gauchos’ one.The last time the Trojans played UCSB, the match was much more contested and resulted in a 12-7 Trojan victory in the Kap7 NorCal Classic earlier this season.Head coach Jovan Vavic believes his team’s improved performance against the Gauchos is due to  differences in preparing for a tournament versus preparing for a single game.“I think we are a little bit more prepared today because when we played them last time, we didn’t know who we were going to play because it was dependent on what they did in the game before, so we really were not preparing for them,” Vavic said. “We were getting ready for any opponent.”In the first half of Saturday’s game alone, nine different Trojans scored each of the team’s goals. Vavic believes that sharing the wealth is key to his team’s success.“That is the strength of our team, and every coach likes to see more people score,” Vavic said. “Everybody knows [senior driver] Kostas [Genidounias] is our main guy, and everyone is going to try to shut him down, so having so many different people score was big. We hope we continue to do that.”It was a significant win for USC, but also for several of the Trojan players, including freshman goalie McQuin Baron. The last time the two teams played, Baron had a career-high 15 saves. On Saturday he picked up 12 more.Baron believes this success is rooted in his focus and discipline.“Every week I try and prepare as best I can, watch video on each shooter on their offense just what they’re doing, learn how they’re trying to play,” Baron said.Vavic is very happy with this rookie’s progress.“He did an excellent job today,” Vavic said. “He was very focused. He did a good job not only blocking the shots but making some good passes in the counterattack. Baron is a special talent. He’s the backbone of our defense. Very pleased with his performance today.”In addition to Baron’s big day, one of the game’s biggest moments came when Genidounias scored the first of his three goals and became USC’s second all-time leading scorer, breaking his tie with former Trojan Juraj Zatovic. Genidounias was humble about the achievement, however, saying that winning was his only priority.“Before the game it was on my mind, but it wasn’t as important as getting the win,” Genidounias said. “It was a team effort. I don’t score the goals by myself. Someone has to give me the pass, so it’s a good team effort and I scored a few goals, and I’m up there at number two. It’s good with me but not as important as winning.”The game was even more special because it was officially the first ever in the newly completed USC facility. Vavic was very pleased with the new arena.“It’s great,” Vavic said. “I think it’s a very special place now because it’s so beautiful, so perfect for water polo. We have been looking forward to playing here for a while now so it was exciting. You could tell our guys are excited the way they started the game.”USC will play in the SoCal Tournament hosted by UCLA next week. After Saturday’s win, the Trojans are confident they will perform better than they did in their last tournament, the NorCal Classic, which resulted in a fourth place finish.Genidounias believes he and his team can keep up the success they have had in the past two weeks.“We hope to go back to that tournament and have a better showing than in the NorCal tournament,” Genidounias said. “I think that now with all of our new players having a few extra games and learning the system, that’s a key for us for our new players to feel more comfortable in the system with each other. I think we’re going to be a little bit of a tougher team than we were in the NorCal Tournament.”Baron also believes that even two weeks more experience for him and his young team is invaluable.“I think we’re definitely more prepared now,” Baron said. “We had more time together. We’re a very young team, so we’re still learning how to play with each other and work as a unit. But we’re definitely coming together better day by day.”last_img read more

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Defense leads Syracuse in dominant 19-7 win over Albany

first_img Published on March 27, 2019 at 8:13 pm Contact Eric: erblack@syr.edu | @esblack34 Albany’s bench collectively shouted at its offense as it struggled to get a good look at the goal. They counted down the seconds left on the possession clock.“30! 20! 10!”Its warnings didn’t help the Great Danes, who used 85 of the 90 seconds on the possession clock only to fail to attempt a shot. Instead, a last-ditch pass was deflected and scooped up by Kerry Defliese, who took the ball upfield.One minute later Syracuse turned the turnover into offense, as Nicole Levy recorded her third goal of the game and put the Orange ahead 5-1.No. 3 Syracuse’s (11-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast) defense led the way in SU’s 12th-straight victory over Albany (5-5, 1-0 America East), 19-7. The Orange still have never lost a game to the Great Danes. And Wednesday marked the fourth-straight time SU held an opponent to single-digit goals — its longest such streak since the start of the 2017 season. Paced by Sarah Cooper, who tied a career-high with five caused turnovers, Syracuse forced Albany into committing more turnovers (18) than shots attempted (10).AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“From the beginning we stepped up,” SU head coach Gary Gait said. “Did what we needed to do in order to have success — the defense getting multiple turnovers.”SU took chances to deflect or intercept Great Danes passes. Ella Simkins whiffed to start the game, missing the ball on a cross-field pass. Her gamble led to Albany’s first goal of the game, but from there on out, the Orange’s defense delivered a nearly flawless performance.Cooper, recently named to the Tewaaraton Award watchlist, was an annoyance to the Great Danes. On one first-half highlight, she timed a jump perfectly and caught the ball in the pocket of her stick.The ball ricocheted out, though, and was picked up by Simkins, who pushed the ball upfield to Emily Hawryschuk. Hawryschuk found Levy, who scored easily to extend Syracuse’s lead.“(Deflecting shots and passes is) a pretty big part,” Cooper said. “To get the knock down and get a ground ball, pick off a pass or something, it’s really important.”The Orange even had defensive contributions from their attackers, as Megan Carney impacted SU’s rides. She caused a turnover when Albany defender Imani Hedgeman was running down the sideline in an attempt to clear the ball.Hedgeman was cornered by Carney and Meaghan Tyrrell and opted to double-back, turning over her left shoulder toward her bench. Carney anticipated the maneuver and smacked the ball out of Hedgeman’s stick. That turnover soon turned into a goal as well, as Morgan Alexander boosted Syracuse’s lead to six a minute later.While the ride aspect of Syracuse’s game has been successful all season, the Orange haven’t had much time to practice it because of their busy schedule. It also takes a lot out of the team, Gait said, so SU can’t dedicate too much time to improve it. Syracuse made a slight change to its ride strategy recently though, a shift that proved impactful on Wednesday against Albany.“We took the pressure off the goalie,” Gait said, “and dropped our four attack back instead of three. Utilized the bumping and shifting a little bit more.”Without having to focus on defending the goalie after offensive possessions, SU’s attackers were able to be more physical with Albany’s defenders. That paid dividends during the middle of the first half, when Hawryschuk forced Lara Podvin into turning the ball over back to SU’s offense, which capitalized again.Later on, a long possession by the Great Danes sparked more possession clock warning chants from their bench. This time, it wound to 10 seconds before Cooper caused another turnover. Fifteen seconds later, Tyrrell extended SU’s lead to seven.Then, it happened again. Cooper forced her fifth turnover, tying her career-high, during an Albany clear attempt. It earned Syracuse possession and two shots at the goal, the second of which was converted by Julie Cross. The midfielder, who scored a career-high three goals, dropped in her final score after a Great Danes turnover in the second half.Albany had been held scoreless for over 10 minutes, and with just 38 seconds left on its possession clock, called a timeout. Whatever play Great Danes head coach and former SU star Katie Rowan drew up failed though, because Albany still struggled to get an open look at the goal. As its bench started to count down again, a fan shouted from the stands, “Shoot! Shoot!” But the Great Danes never got off a shot attempt and were called for a possession clock violation.“We really just got good pressure,” Cooper said. “We got them on their heels, made them frantic, made them make some bad passes. We had our sticks in the way.”The Great Danes never strung together more than two goals in a row and ended up scoring nearly seven goals fewer than their season average. SU never led by fewer than seven after the 5:50 mark in the first half and wound up winning by its largest margin since Feb. 18. But in a game in which the Orange scored their most goals in over a month, it was their defense that made the difference. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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