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Marvelous McQuin

mcquin.jpgThough the NCAA men's water polo season came to a close months ago, USC goalie McQuin Baron was rewarded this weekend with the Peter J. Cutino Award for the top player in collegiate water polo.

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Baron, a rising senior and a 2016 U.S. Olympian, racked up 247 saves this season to bring his all-time total to 817 -- second-most in USC history.

Only Joel Dennerley, a two-time Olympian and the 2011 Cutino Award winner, has more saves in the Trojan record books.

This year, Baron led the MPSF in goals-against average (4.48 per game) and ranked second in saves (11.66 per game). Baron helped take the Trojans to the national title game, where he racked up a career-high 19 saves, but fell in overtime to Cal.

The soft-spoken North Tustin, CA native was named the NCAA National Player of the Year, an All-American, the MPSF Tournament MVP and an All-MPSF First Teamer in addition to earning the Cutino Award.

At the ceremony in San Francisco on Saturday, Baron beat out teammate Blake Edwards as well as UCLA's Garrett Danner (the defending Cutino Award winner) and Ryder Roberts for the award.

Baron becomes USC's fifth Cutino Award winner -- more than any other school can claim.

Click here to watch Baron's acceptance speech!

Baron will return for his senior year and make one more run at bringing yet another championship to Troy.

Most Outstanding McQuin

15621635_1367770166588518_4459347181417205958_n.jpgMen's water polo goalie McQuin Baron headlined USC's seven All-Americans this season by winning National Player of the Year today.

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Baron earned the honor by posting 247 saves (11.8 saves per game) with a 4.47 goals-against average --- the best in the MPSF. He only allowed double digit goals in two games this year: USC's two losses to Cal. Baron becomes the 10th Trojan to win National Player of the Year. He is USC's first winner since Kostas Genidounias in 2014 and the first USC goalie to win since Joel Dennerley in 2011.

IMG_7037.JPGBaron is joined by Blake Edwards on the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches All-American First Team. Edwards led USC's potent scoring attack, with 42 goals this season. This honor marks the second straight first team All-American selection for the Australian.

Baron and Edwards are still in the running for the Peter J. Cutino Award --- collegiate water polo's equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. The winner will be announced in June 2017.

USC's second-leading scorer, Matteo Morelli, earned a spot on the All-American second team for his 37-goal season. Morelli, Edwards and Grant Stein, who earned third team honors, are now tied at 28th on USC's all-time scoring list with 110 goals. Lachlan Edwards, who's right behind with 108 career goals, also earned third team honors this year.

Senior Nick Bell and freshman Matt Maier round out USC's All-American honorees, earning honorable mention for their efforts in USC's 24-2 season.

State of Troy: December 2016

Each month, we sit down with USC athletic director Lynn Swann to get his take on the hot topics around Heritage Hall.

Swann on making the Rose Bowl...

USC_Womens_Soccer_NCA_College_Cup_Georgetown_McGillen_6720.jpgIt was a great November. For my first time being the athletic director during the holiday season, it's wonderful to have the gift of a Rose Bowl. The football team finished up extraordinarily well. Give Clay Helton all the credit for keeping them focused after a 1-3 start to get to a 9-3 season and a top 10 ranking. Our hats are off to him and the football program.

Swann on women's soccer's national championship...

We have 21 sports here, so I am just as proud of what women's soccer has accomplished. Under head coach Keidane McAlpine, we won the program's second national championship. I was on hand in Northern California for the semifinal against Georgetown and the final against West Virginia. The Mountaineers were ranked No. 1 with a roster full of Canadian national team players and Olympians, but we beat them, 3-1. It was an outstanding game played by an outstanding team. I cannot praise our team enough.

Swann on men's water polo's national runner-up finish...

Men's water polo has been at the top of its game forever, making 12 straight NCAA title matches. They came up a little short in overtime against Cal in Berkeley, but we are exceptionally proud of what Jovan Vavic has done and what his team has done. What I love about Jovan though is that he is never satisfied to finish second and will continue to doggedly pursue championships.

Swann on men's basketball's undefeated start...

USC_Football_Notre_Dame_Coliseum_2016_McGillen_6966.jpgI have enjoyed being in the locker room with Andy Enfield and his team after a couple of victories to listen to him talk about playing great defense and what it will take to win throughout the season. He talks to them about week-by-week improvement. Even in the face of adversity, when Bennie Boatwright went down with an injury, the team was disappointed but not devastated. They are focused on having a great season. They are in position to compete for a Pac-12 championship, which is the first goal, and ultimately to make the NCAA Tournament again.

Swann on women's basketball's excellent play...

The Women of Troy only have one loss, and they have dealt with injury trouble as well. They went on the road and picked up a quality win against a ranked Texas A&M team. We are hosting a tournament this weekend at the Galen Center, so we need to support them. We need to get more of our fans out to both men's and women's basketball games.

Swann on women's volleyball's season...

The women's volleyball team is young, but they had a nice season to earn a 26th consecutive NCAA Tournament bid. I look forward to them being outstanding over the next several years. They will continue to get better and continue to grow.

Swann on the academic semester coming to an end...

Academically, we had another tremendous semester in the classroom. Our Stevens Academic Center is there for a reason, and they are doing a great job mentoring and tutoring our student-athletes. Our Graduation Success Rate (GSR) has gone up for the third straight year, and at the present pace, it looks like it will improve over the next two years also.

Swann on visiting USC supporters across the country...

Earlier in December, I took a trip back East for the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame dinner and met with several groups of our alumni who are eagerly engaged with USC and look to do more. They are excited about the Rose Bowl and our progress athletically and academically in all 21 sports. USC has changed and grown to become even more appealing across the country and globe. For example, our lacrosse program has put its sport on the map nationally for the West Coast, so we have more people interested in coming to USC from the East Coast where the sport has deep roots.

Swann on USC's competitive spirit...

I also had the chance to attend the Heisman dinner for the first time with some USC alumni, while we all enjoyed it, we look forward to the day when a Trojan is holding up the trophy again. That's what makes USC special. We had a tremendous fall semester, but we are never satisfied. We keep pushing to win championships in every sport and to get better and better every day, week, month and year.

Happy Holidays to the entire Trojans Family! We are thankful for the blessings of this past year and look forward to a tremendous 2017!

Good Cutino Odds

USC men's water polo has a two in four chance of taking home the Cutino Award, the greatest individual honor in the sport. The Trojans will be represented by two worthy finalists, goalie McQuin Baron and top scorer Blake Edwards.

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Baron and Edwards are two of nine Trojans all-time to be named Cutino finalists, and they are the second pair of USC teammates to do it in the same season. The program has won the award five times, including Kostas Genidounias most recently in 2014-15.


Just Short

USC men's water polo fell to Cal, 11-8, in the national championship today.

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The Bears proved to be the only thorn in USC's side all season. The Trojans finished the year 24-2, with their only two losses coming to Cal. Today, in USC's 12th consecutive NCAA title appearance, the Trojans led until the fourth quarter, when the hungry Bears tied it up and pushed the game to overtime.

USC hadn't played an OT game all season, and Cal outscored the Trojans, 4-1, in the two extra time frames to take home the trophy. The Bears sent a barrage of shots McQuin Baron's way, as the junior goalie racked up a season-high 19 saves but also allowed a season-high 11 goals.

Baron, Nick Bell and Marin Dasic earned All-Tournament second team honors, while USC's Blake and Lachlan Edwards earned first team honors. Blake finished the season with a team-high 42 goals, including one today. Baron finished the season with 247 saves, tied for the sixth-most in a single season in USC history.

Two National Championship Day?

USC women's soccer and men's water polo will compete for the NCAA championships in their respective sports on Sunday at 3 p.m. PT in the Bay Area.

Click here for more on women's soccer.

Click here for more on men's water polo.

The Women of Troy defeated Georgetown, 1-0, in the national semifinal on Friday night thanks to a second half strike from Katie Johnson. They will play No. 1 West Virginia for the College Cup on Sunday in San Jose. The game will be broadcast live on ESPNU.

No. 1 USC men's water polo cruised past Harvard, 19-4, to make its 12th consecutive NCAA title match, looking for its first crown since 2013. The Trojans will square off with host Cal for the national championship on Sunday in Berkeley. The game will be streamed live on


Straight to the Semis

After winning the MPSF Tournament and finishing the regular season ranked No. 1 in the nation, USC men's water polo sets up for an NCAA semifinal game tomorrow at Cal's Spieker Aquatic Center in Berkeley, CA.

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For winning their conference tournament, the Trojans earned a first-round bye and a trip straight to the semis, where they'll face the winner of today's match between UC Davis and Harvard. USC is 15-0 all-time against UC Davis and 1-0 against Harvard.

USC enters the semifinal matchup with a 23-1 record and a 15-game win streak, including two recent wins against UCLA, the two-time defending national champion. The Bruins are on the other side of the bracket, and will face the winner of Cal and Pomona-Pitzer in the semifinals tomorrow evening.

Should the Trojans win tomorrow, they'll advance to their 12th consecutive title appearance. After winning six straight national championships from 2008-13, USC fell to UCLA in each of the last two title games.

The Trojans begin their quest for a 10th national championship tomorrow at 3 p.m. Follow USC water polo on Twitter for more information and stream the games online by clicking here!


MVP McQuin

After leading his team to the title, USC men's water polo goalie McQuin Baron was named the MVP of the MPSF Tournament yesterday.

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Baron racked up 33 saves in two games this weekend (16 vs. Stanford, 17 vs. UCLA) to lead his team to two victories. His efforts made him the first Trojan named top dog at the tournament since Nikola Vavic in 2013.

While Baron was named the tournament's top goalie, his teammates Nick Bell and Blake Edwards also made the MPSF All-Tournament Team. Bell scored once against Penn State Behrend and twice against UCLA. Edwards, who also made the all-tournament team last season, scored one goal in each game.

Thanks to their tournament win, the Trojans earned a spot in the NCAA semifinals, which take place on Dec. 3 in Berkeley, CA.


Staying on Top

USC won the MPSF Tournament and earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA men's water polo tournament by beating UCLA, 9-6, in the final on Sunday.

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After beating the Bruins, 8-7, in the regular season finale on Nov. 12, USC seemed to have UCLA figured out, never trailing in the title game despite playing in the Bruins' home pool. USC surged to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter, which proved to be the difference, as both teams netted two goals each in each of the remaining three quarters.

Junior goalie McQuin Baron was key in keeping the Trojans ahead, as he racked up 17 saves (two shy of his career high).

Baron and the Trojans earned the top seed in the NCAA tournament by posting a 23-1 record this year. As the top seed, USC heads straight to the NCAA semifinals, which will take place on Dec. 3 in Berkeley, CA.

Check out team photographer John McGillen's photo gallery of the big win:

Back Where They Belong

USC men's water polo enters the MPSF Tournament tomorrow as the top-ranked team in the conference and the nation.

The Trojans wrestled away the UCLA Bruins' No. 1 ranking by beating them, 8-7, in the regular season finale last week. USC's win snapped UCLA's NCAA water polo-record 57-match win streak.

After finishing the regular season with a 20-1 record, the Trojans now enter the MPSF Tournament in Westwood, CA. They face fourth-seeded Stanford tomorrow at 3 p.m. to kick things off, before taking on Penn State Behrend at 6 p.m.


McQuin the Man

USC men's water polo goalie McQuin Baron earned MPSF Player of the Week honors for his efforts in USC's big win over UCLA this weekend.

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Baron made nine saves, including one with 15 seconds to go to stop the Bruins from equalizing Blake Edwards' go-ahead goal in the game. The victory snapped UCLA's NCAA water polo record of 57 consecutive wins and helped the Trojans surpass them as the nation's No. 1 ranked team.

Baron's imposing presence in the cage this season helped USC post a 20-1 record. The Trojans now enter the MPSF Tournament as the top seed, facing Stanford on Friday at 3 p.m. in Westwood, CA.


Back On Top

In a tense crosstown rivalry matchup, No. 2 USC men's water polo knocked off No. 1 UCLA to end the Bruins' NCAA record 57 consecutive win streak.

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On Senior Day at Uytengsu Aquatic Center, the Trojans pulled off an 8-7 win over the back-to-back national champion Bruins. UCLA got out to a 2-0 lead, but SC battled back and the teams traded blows throughout the game. Trailing at the beginning of the fourth period, the Trojans equalized and got the game-winning goal from Blake Edwards with just 38 seconds to go in the game. It was the Aussie's only goal of the day.

The Trojans also got goals from Grant Stein (2), Lazar Pasuljevic (2), Zach D'Sa, Lachlan Edwards and senior Nick Bell, who was honored before the game, along with the late Jon Walters.

Goalie McQuin Baron made a stop on UCLA's last shot attempt (his ninth of the game) to seal the victory for USC.

With the win, USC takes over the No. 1 spot in the nation and the top seed in the upcoming MPSF Tournament. The Trojans will face fourth-seeded Stanford at 3 p.m. on Friday in Westwood, CA.

Water Polo's Crosstown Showdown

IMG_6645.JPGUSC men's water polo puts bragging rights, tournament seeding and Crosstown Cup points on the line tomorrow in its matchup with UCLA.

No. 2 USC hosts the top-ranked Bruins at 11 a.m. tomorrow in the final match of the regular season.

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The Trojans are 19-1 on the season, with their lone loss coming to Cal in the semifinals of the Mountain Pacific Invitational. Had USC won that game, it would have played UCLA in the finals. Since the Trojans were forced to play in the consolation game, tomorrow will be the first time USC and UCLA clash this season.

The winner of the matchup earns the No. 1 seed in the MPSF Tournament, which begins on Nov. 18. The victor also earns points toward the 2016-17 Crosstown Cup, in which the Trojans are currently trailing.

The Bruins are undefeated this season and have won an NCAA-record 57 consecutive matches heading into Saturday.

Tomorrow's meeting will be a rematch of the last two NCAA championship games. Last year, UCLA beat USC, 10-7, and in 2014, UCLA just edged USC by a score of 9-8 to take home the trophy. The Trojans hope to reverse that trend tomorrow at 11 a.m. at Uytengsu Aquatic Center.

Wild Weekend in Troy

The fall sports calendar explodes this weekend all over campus as well as the critical football game up in Seattle. Please come out and support the Trojans!

Click here for ticket information.


Marin the Man

Freshman driver Marin Dasic of USC men's water polo earned MPSF Newcomer of the Week for his three-goal performance vs. San Jose State on Sunday. It was the second such award of the year for Dasic.

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His three goals against the Spartans marked the third hat trick of the season for the Croatian. He also scored three goals against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and La Verne. He and two other Trojans were tied for the team lead in goals against SJSU in the Trojans' 19-1 win.

Dasic and the Trojans are back in the pool this Saturday morning. The No. 2 Trojans clash with No. 1 UCLA at 11 a.m. to round out their regular season.


Conquering Cal

USC men's water polo avenged its only loss of the season on Saturday with a 10-6 win over Cal.

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Junior driver Matteo Morelli stepped up to lead all scorers with four goals in the match. He helped the Trojans improve to 18-1 on the season and 2-0 in conference play.

Check out USC photographer John McGillen's photos of the big match!

The Water's Fine

USC men's water polo hosts two home matches this weekend as the end of the regular season approaches.

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Tomorrow, the No. 3 Trojans host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at 5 p.m. at Uytengsu Aquatic Center. USC has never lost to the Stags, and beat them 20-5 in their matchup last season.

On Saturday, the Trojans face a rematch with the only team that's beat them all season: Cal. The No. 2 Bears edged USC, 10-8, in the semifinals of the Mountain Pacific Invitational back in September. USC's McQuin Baron, the best goalie in the conference in terms of goals-against average (4.22) will go up against the MPSF's top scorer in Johnny Hooper (2.94 goals per game) under the lights. Hooper led all players with three goals in USC's first matchup with Cal.

The Trojans take on Cal at 6:30 p.m. at USC's Uytengsu Aquatic Center.


Eight Straight

On Saturday, USC men's water polo earned its eighth straight win with a 13-8 takedown of Long Beach State.

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The No. 3 Trojans trailed at the end of the first period for the first time since their loss to Cal on Sept. 24. But USC utilized a big second and third period to knock off the 6th-ranked 49ers for the second time this season. USC also beat Long Beach State, 9-4, in the Mountain Pacific Invitational last month.

Blake Edwards, Lazar Pasuljevic (pictured), Thomas Dunstan and Matteo Morelli scored two goals apiece to lead the nine Trojans who found the back of the net. Edwards leads the team with 32 goals this season. McQuin Baron racked up 10 saves.

This Thursday, the 16-1 Trojans host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at USC's Uytengsu Aquatic Center at 5 p.m. Saturday, No. 2 Cal --- the only team to beat USC this season --- comes to town. That matchup will take place at 6:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on Pac-12 Network.


Trojans Gash Gauchos

USC men's water polo earned its seventh straight win this weekend with a 16-6 takedown of UC Santa Barbara.

Click here for the full recap.

The Trojans have now outscored the Gauchos 30-9 in their two meetings this season.

In Saturday's matchup, junior driver Blake Edwards netted five goals, the last of which was his 100th as a Trojan. For his efforts, Edwards was named the MPSF Player of the Week. It was the first such award for Edwards, who connected on all of his shot attempts against the Gauchos.

It was a close game out of the gates, with USC up just 4-3 after one period, but the Trojan defense tightened up to lead the way to a 10-goal victory. USC now boasts 11 double-digit victories this season.

Next up for the Trojans is a short trip to Long Beach to take on Long Beach State on Saturday.


Stevens Center Academic Spotlight: Mihajlo Milicevic

USC's student-athletes are more than just champions on the field, court, diamond and pool, they're champions in the classroom as well. Each week, we will get to know one of these scholarly Trojans a little better in our academic spotlight.

Mihajlo Milicevic
Year: Junior
Sport: Men's Water Polo
Position: Utility Player
Major: Business Administration
GPA: 3.71

Aubrey Kragen (AK): You went to college for a year in Serbia, right? What made you decide to make the move out here?

Mihajlo Milicevic (MM): Well in Serbia, it's very hard to combine water polo and school together --- to play on a very high level and at the same time to have a good education. So that's the No. 1 thing. Also, I heard about USC, I knew that school and water polo were great here, and this was just a great chance for me.

AK: How had you heard about USC all the way in Serbia? Did you have friends or know someone here?

MM: I actually met Chase Koplow, who is currently on the team. He went to Serbia to practice, because Serbia is pretty good in water polo. So he was getting ready for college, and he told me about USC. He told be about Jovan [Vavic], how he's the head coach. So I got interested, and looked it up, and then we talked a little bit more about USC and everything.

AK: For a transfer student within the United States, it can be difficult to adjust to a new college. How difficult was it for you to get adjusted coming from halfway across the world?

MM: The biggest issue was the language barrier. It was hard for me in the beginning to understand, and even to talk. But once I learned English, everything else was kind of the same. Education here is a little bit different, so once I learned the system and learned how to schedule my classes, how to find the buildings, how to read the syllabus --- all the basic stuff --- everything else was easy.

AK: What was your process of learning English? Did you know much growing up or did you come here and have to pick it up?

MM: Well, before I came here, I thought I was pretty good at English, which is kind of sad. In Serbia, I started learning English since fifth grade in elementary school. But we would just study grammar and we wouldn't talk in English at all. It would be just writing, and it would be just a couple of phrases, so it wasn't that useful. So once I came here and tried to talk, it was completely different and I was confused and kind of embarrassed. I didn't want to talk that much, but then I just realized that I have to try. After a month, I think, I felt more comfortable.

AK: You started here as an economics major but you switched to business administration. What made you decide to switch?

MM: Well, my primary goal was to get in business school. The econ major was just because academically I was a junior last year, so I had to choose a major, and econ was in Dornsife, and I was undeclared in Dornsife, so that was the easiest option for me ... And then after that I applied to business school.

AK: So why is business the field you want to go into?

MM: Well, I love math, and I love problem-solving and decision-making, and I think I'm pretty good at that. So I see myself in that area, and I would like to work one day in finance. Mainly because it's very competitive, and I was an athlete my entire life, so I love to compete. And I love problem solving, so I think I could find myself in that area and just continue my lifestyle in a little bit different industry.

AK: How difficult is it to maintain such a high GPA when you're on a team that consistently has such high expectations athletically?

MM: Well, what I think in my opinion is it's not about how intelligent you are, it's not about how smart you are, it's all about organization and discipline. So, if you're very organized, even though you have a lot of things to do during the day, in the end, you will know, 'Now, I'm studying. Now, I'm going to take a break, I'm going to get ready for my practice, I'm going to class.' Or at night I know I have to finish this paper or get ready for a midterm. If you have that attitude that you know you have to do it, then it's possible.

AK: So do you schedule your day out like that? Do you have a planner where you block times out for certain things?

MM: That's weird, because I don't have a planner. That's kind of bad. But I have a planner in my head, so I basically have the entire plan for the entire week in advance. I already know that I have to study, for example, on Tuesday night ... So I kind of make a planner in my head, which I know is not good --- I have to start writing, because in the future I will forget a lot of things.

AK: Lastly, I have to ask, what are the worst pronunciations of your name you've gotten from professors?

MM: Oh yeah. I got so many. I don't understand why, but they always put a 'K,' so they will always say "Mi-Ki-Lo" or "Mi-Kay-La." I would end up with a lot of different names ... it's "Mi-Hi-Lo." So you can put it as "Me-High-Low."
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