Print Friendly, PDF & Email

BERKLEY, Calif. The Northeast Water Polo Conference (NWPC) Champion/No. 8-ranked Princeton University men’s water polo team concluded the 2022 season with an 11-8 loss to Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Champion/No. 1 the University of Southern California in the quarterfinals of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAAA) Men’s Water Polo Championship. 

Due to the loss, the Tigers conclude the 2022 season with a record of 27-6. Princeton’s 27 wins mark the most in program history while this season also marked the first time the team reached the NCAA Quarterfinals in consecutive years.

Keller Maloney led the team in goals against USC with a hat-trick. Luke Johnston, Vladan Mitrovic, Joan Coloma and Roko Pozaric also scored in the game for the Tigers who held their own to force the top-ranked team in the nation to complete a come-from-behind victory.

Princeton led 3-2 after eight minutes as a goal from Mitrovic put the Tigers in front.  A five-meter penalty by the Tigers put Princeton ahead 4-3 two minutes into the second quarter, but USC found a spark soon after when Massimo Di Martire ripped in a bar-in blast to beat the shot clock buzzer to snarl it at 4-4. USC’s defense forced a shot clock violation by the Tigers, and then Marcus Longton found fellow senior Chris Sturtevant for the go-ahead goal on the ensuring USC possession. Princeton equalized the score courtesy a six-on-five strike two minutes later, only to see Ashworth Molthen get a takeaway on the defensive end to help set up Longton’s first strike of the night off a setup from Carson Kranz, and USC was up 6-5 by halftime. 

In the third quarter, USC’s offense was all Longton – including a pair of assists by Di Martire – to help the Trojans acquire a 9-6 scoreboard advantage heading into the final eight minutes of regulation.

USC’s Max Miller took another Di Martire feed for a point blank slam at the post on another six-on-five opportunity to push the lead to 10-6. Luka Brnetic broke up a Princeton man-up chance and McKenney hit Ashworth Molthen on the counter for a finish that provided USC with a 11-6 lead at the 2:55 mark.

Princeton attempted to rally back in the waning moments of the game, but the Trojans held off the Tigers to escape with an 11-8 victory.

Princeton’s historic season included highlights such as defeating Stanford University for the first time in program history, repeating as NWPC Champions and beating Fordham for the second consecutive year in the opening round of NCAA Championship competition..

Information courtesy University of Southern California & Princeton University Athletics Communications

Collegiate Water Polo Association