The Trojans quickly dispelled any Long Beach State hopes of stealing an upset by jumping out to a 6-1 lead at the end of the first quarter on Saturday. From there, the No. 2 USC men’s water polo team (22-2, 5-2) would cruise to a 10-4 shellacking of the 49ers.Twice as nice · Sophomore driver Michael Rosenthal netted two goals in the Trojans’ winning effort on Saturday against Long Beach State. – Katelynn Whitaker | Daily Trojan It is apparent that a team has championship aspirations when even its wins against ranked opponents are highly critiqued. Such was the case Thursday when No. 10 Pepperdine almost stunned USC in front of its home crowd, losing narrowly 7-6. After USC’s most impressive performance of the season against then-No. 3 UCLA two weeks ago, the Trojans did not beat Pepperdine all too convincingly. USC coach Jovan Vavic cited the pitfalls of fielding a young team as to why the Trojans sometimes do not play at a level more equal to their talent.Aiming to avoid subsequent underwhelming performances, the Trojans rattled off five unanswered goals in the first quarter on Saturday against a struggling Long Beach State team that, although ranked No. 9, has now lost seven consecutive games and 10 of 11. A swarming defense from the outset was the primary reason for USC’s early success.“At the beginning of the game, we did a good job of denying the ball to their biggest threats, which are [their two-meters Nick] Rascon and [Taylor] Clute,” Vavic said. “We intercepted some of their passes, which created opportunities for us on the counterattack.”The Trojans, as is a staple of their team, received scoring contributions from seven different players, with freshman driver Nikola Vavic registering a hat-trick and redshirt sophomore driver Michael Rosenthal chipping in two tallies.“Individually, Peter Kurzeka had a good game,” Jovan Vavic said. “Rosenthal played well; he scored a couple of goals for us. Nikola played well defensively and offensively. Our two-meter men also did well in drawing ejections.”Perhaps what was most impressive was something that will not appear in a box score: the Trojans’ refusal to retaliate when battered by frustrated Long Beach State players. After the first quarter, the 49ers became testy following continually stout Trojan defensive stands. An auspicious development for the Trojans was their ability to persevere and simply allow the referees to officiate.“Defensively, we played tough,” Jovan Vavic said. “Long Beach was very physical. I think the game was a little too physical, as a matter of fact. But our guys were able to take more than one punch without responding. In the end, I think our composure was the difference — we stayed cool.”The Trojans, third in the MPSF standings, have the same 5-2 record in conference play as UCLA but owns the tiebreaker with its win over the Bruins, meaning if USC beats No. 5 UC Irvine this weekend, the team is assured of at least a third-place finish. To finish second, however, No. 3 Stanford will have to lose to both Pacific and California to round out its conference schedule.Next on the docket for USC is an exhibition match against a Canadian national water polo team that finished 11th in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The game will be played Wednesday at 5 p.m. in McDonald’s Swim Stadium.“It’s a game that will help us prepare for the conference tournament,” Jovan Vavic said. “Canada is a team on the rise, so it’s a great opportunity for us to get practice, and it’s exciting for our team.”
Laura Nicholls of Spain, left, and Brittney Griner of US fight for the ball during their Basketball Championship for Women’s final at Fenerbahce Arena in Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014.(AP Photo)WNBA star Brittney Griner was cut on the elbow by a man in a knife attack in China but didn’t need to go to the hospital, her agent told The Associated Press on Tuesday.Agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas said Griner sustained a small cut as her team was boarding a bus after practice Monday in what she called a random attack. Colas said the 6-foot-8 player was wearing a winter coat and that the knife barely cut her skin. Griner didn’t require stitches.The agent said the man also stabbed one of Griner’s teammates, but that she was wearing two jackets and the knife didn’t go through.Colas said the man was yelling as he chased the players onto the bus. She said he left the scene, then returned covered in blood and was apprehended by Chinese authorities. It was not immediately clear in which city this happened.Griner plays in the WNBA with the Phoenix Mercury. This is her second season in China and first with the Beijing Great Wall. The team was preparing for a road game against Liaoning Hengye.Griner, who led Baylor to a 40-0 season and the 2012 NCAA title, came out as a lesbian in 2013 after her senior season. She was the No. 1 pick by the Mercury in the 2013 draft.
TINTON FALLS – The Ranney School community honored its retiring head of school by dedicating the middle and upper school building in recognition of Dr. Lawrence S. Sykoff for his more than two decades of service.Students, parents, school facility, administration and guests gathered May 21 on Ranney’s campus, 235 Hope Road, to dedicate the building now named the Lawrence Sykoff Center for Excellence.Ranney Upper School students, from left, Kendall Tropey, Jordan Hesslein and James Soldati, place school memorabilia into a time capsule during the dedication and naming of the Lawrence Sykoff Center for Excellence that honors theretiring head of school.Sykoff, who is retiring at the end of the school year, has been head of school for the pre-K-12th grade private school since 1993.Students were present to assist with the placing of noteworthy mementos from the year school year into a time capsule for the newly named facility. The capsule will be buried in the building’s courtyard.“You’re true lasting legacy, Dr. Sykoff, is the thousands of young adults that have been impacted because of what you have done with the school,” board of trustees President Jamie Price said during the outdoor ceremony. “They will be better prepared for life’s challenges and are guided by a strong ethical code. Most importantly, they will go on to impact millions of people and will change the world in ways we have yet to see.”