No. 2 USC scored with 28 seconds remaining to play to snap a tie in an 11-10 men's water polo victory over No.3 Stanford in the semifinals of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Invitational at USC on Saturday.
The loss sends Stanford (6-2) into the third-place game against top-ranked California on Sunday. No. 4 UCLA upset the Bears.
Cardinal freshman Ben Hallock responded 21 seconds later but USC scored on a power play to make 10-9 with 3:05 left before Cody Smith tied it again with an even strength goal at the 2:42 mark.
Both teams took turns missing opportunities until Trojans' Matteo Morelli scored to make it 11-10. Hallock's shot with 10 seconds remaining was blocked by his USA senior national teammate McQuin Baron.
The Cardinal got another chance to tie it late but turned it over.
Drew Holland, also a national team member, recorded 17 saves in the game. Baron had 10 saves. Connor Stapleton led Stanford with three goals.
The Cardinal responded from an early 2-1 deficit with five consecutive goals and never looked back, en route to a 9-6 victory over Long Beach State earlier in the day.
After senior Reid Chase opened the scoring with a goal midway through the opening quarter, Long Beach State recorded a pair of scores to jump ahead of Stanford at the end of the period.
Stanford responded, scoring five unanswered goals to surge ahead for good. Stapleton found junior Blake Parrish for a score 23 seconds into the second quarter to even things up. Less than a minute later, Parrish put Stanford ahead for good with another score.
Saint Louis converted a pair of headers early in the second half and beat No. 5 Stanford, 2-0, at Hermann Stadium on Saturday afternoon in Stanford's final nonconference contest.
The Cardinal heads into Pac-12 play with a 6-2 record and begins its quest for a fourth consecutive conference title Thursday, when it travels to San Diego State for a 7 p.m. contest.
Saint Louis (2-3-1) broke through in the 57th minute when a Stanford clearance near the top of the box was knocked down by Jacob Krupp. Krupp quickly put a service across to Leo Novaes, who headed the ball past Nico Corti into the side netting at the far post.
Four minutes later, SLU’s Spencer Jones knocked a corner clear through the mass of people in front of goal and raced into the box himself. Eric Davies tracked down the ball on the other side and sent it back in to Jones for a snap header to increase the Billikens’ lead.
Stanford dominated action late in the opening half and nearly scored on a number of set pieces. The Cardinal won nine corners in the first 45 minutes and Tomas Hilliard-Arce was strong in the air, getting his head on five, but none found their way past SLU keeper Sascha Otte.
Two more Stanford headers in the 72nd minute were high and wide and despite outshooting SLU 16-9, Stanford was shutout for the second time this season. The Cardinal forced Otte to make one save, while six of the Billikens’ nine shots were on frame.
In the 76th, a bouncing ball found Amir Bashti at the top of the box, but his right-footed blast sailed over the crossbar.