Trojans send seniors out with second straight title

first_imgDespite the many years of success, the numerous NCAA national championships, the vast number of Mountain Pacific Sports Federation titles and the countless weeks of No. 1 rankings, one might be hard-pressed to find a time in the USC men’s water polo team’s decorated history when they showed as much experience as they did in the 2009 season.Top performer · Senior two-meter Shea Buckner contributed big defensive plays down the stretch and made the All-Tournament team. – Katelynn Whitaker | Daily Trojan So as time ran out in the final round of the NCAA tournament and the Trojans were once again crowned National Champions, it seemed fitting that the key to their success were the very players who had been there the longest: the senior class.As has been the norm for the Trojans this season, the group of 10 seniors — most of whom had been together since their freshman year — propelled both the offensive and defensive attack, leading USC to a 7-6 win over their cross-town rival and providing the perfect ending to a near-perfect four year stretch at USC.Setting the BarFor the seniors, their journey began in the fall of 2006.Fresh off a national championship run in 2005, the Trojans’ bid to defend their title was snatched from their hands in the final seconds of the NCAA tournament final by California , leaving the team unsatisfied and hungry for another chance.The 2007 season provided the opportunity for redemption: USC had once again bull-rushed through its regular season schedule, entering the NCAA tournament with an 18-2 record and a No. 1 ranking. But after an opening-round win against LMU, the Trojans once again were stymied by Cal’s attack, losing 8-6 and falling victim to the Golden Bears for the second year in a row.Despite the heartbreaking losses of the previous two years, 2008 marked a pinnacle year for the men’s water polo team. Led by a large core of experienced juniors and seniors, the Trojans breezed through all the competition they faced in both regular season and tournament play, finishing with a 29-0 record and a resounding 7-5 win over host Stanford. This was the first true taste of victory for the now-senior class, who had come so close in the previous years’ title matches only to be denied.“We were putting everything on the line,” said senior Shea Buckner after the 2008 championship game. “All of our friends, our old teammates, all of our best friends leading the cheers — it was awesome, a great experience.”One Last ChanceDespite finally securing a championship, the seniors still had one opportunity left to repeat. With many of the same pieces in place from the season prior, the Trojans were able to once again lead the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation with a 22-1 regular season record, entering postseason play with the No. 1 ranking.Despite a rare loss to UCLA and a third place finish in the MPSF tournament, the Trojans still entered the NCAA tournament with the first seed and disposed of host Princeton in the opening round 13-3.Headed into the championship game, the Trojans were faced with several opportunities in addition to the chance to win back-to-back titles. Not only could they win the season series against rival UCLA, but they could win a national championship for the first time in school history against a team other than Stanford.With the experience and cohesion of the team at an all-time high, the Trojans wasted no opportunities, holding off a strong UCLA attack to secure their fifth national championship.Senior two-meter Jordan Thompson — who captured the NCAA tournament MVP — and sophomore driver Peter Kurzeka led the Trojans with two goals each; senior two-meters J.W. Krumpholz and Buckner and senior driver Matt Sagehorn each added a score as well.The Trojans were first to get on the board, as Kurzeka was able to find the net during a counterattack to put USC up in the opening minutes. A Thompson penalty shot notched the second goal for the Trojans, and then Krumpholz — who has scored in four straight NCAA tournament final matches — blasted in a shot from the post to give USC a 3-0 advantage.After UCLA was able to narrow the score to 4-3 in the second, the vaunted Trojan defense — which has been ranked first in the nation for the last five years — came alive, coming up with several key blocks to create counterattacks for USC. Once again, it was Thompson and Kurzeka driving the Trojans’ scoring, as the senior found pay dirt on a well-contested hook shot and the sophomore was able to skip in a shot from the left side to put USC up by three again.But UCLA continued to fight, and goals from juniors Jacob Murphy and Ben Hohl in the final minutes of the third brought the Bruins to within one score going into the fourth period.Like so many previous games this season, it was USC’s finishing ability in the fourth period that allowed the team to prevail. Sagehorn blasted a huge goal to put the Trojans up 7-5 with four minutes left, and despite another Hohl score for the Bruins, the defense was able to stamp out the UCLA attack in the final two minutes to secure the title.“We were focused on our defense throughout the entire game, and we did a great job stopping UCLA’s extra man,” said coach Jovan Vavic, who has been a part of all five Trojan national titles. “We shut down their best outside shooter and everybody contributed.”Part of the reason for their success, according to Thompson, can be attributed to the experience of the team and the players’ familiarity with playing in the championship round.“I’ve never felt that calm before a game, and the guys were saying that they all felt the same way,” Thompson said. “We knew what we were doing and we went in being confident, and that really helped us.”Vavic was equally pleased with the end of the season.“It was a wonderful ending to the best generation we’ve ever had,” Vavic said. “It is really fitting for these boys to end up on top, to win their last collegiate game, and to beat UCLA. It’s one of those dream-come-true endings, and I am extremely proud of them and I am really going to miss them.”last_img read more

Jamaican High Commissioner to UK Appeals for Caribbean Nationals to Get…

first_imgLONDON, England – Amid another mass deportation of Caribbean nationals from the United Kingdom, Jamaica’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Seth George Ramocan, says persons to be deported should be entitled to the due process of the law.“The individuals who are being deported have a right to be heard, they have a right to have access to their lawyers, they have rights for any possibility or privileges for making applications to determine their rights to remain…before that flight departs,” Ramocan said in a recent interview.He acknowledged during the interview that the state had the right “to determine whether that person would be allowed to remain in the country” saying that he was in discussions also with a legal voluntary group involved in the community on the matter.”His comments come after the Uk’s Home Office announced a charter flight with deportees is scheduled to arrive in Jamaica on February 11. This is the second charter flight to depart Jamaica from the UK since the Windrush Scandal broke in 2018.In February 2019, 29 criminals were deported on the charter flight to Jamaica, all with a combined sentence of 150 years, or an average prison term of five years (according to the Home Office).Following the Home Office’s announcement of this week’s flight, hundreds of protesters lined outside of the office to protest the decision.Karen Doyle, from national organisation Movement for Justice, told British media that the protest “was a powerful demonstration of how people feel about these unjust mass deportation charter flights”.While the Home Office, Ramocan, and the British High Commissioner to Jamaica, Asif Ahmad, have all assured that the deportees are not members of the Windrush generation, lawyers say some passengers could be victims of trafficking and county lines exploitation.The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) says some have lived in the UK for the majority of their lives and are being disproportionately punished for minor crimes.Since 2018, the British government faced a serious backlash about the treatment of the Windrush generation – named after a ship that brought people to the United Kingdom from the Caribbean in 1948. It emerged that thousands of long-term UK residents were denied access to services, held in detention or removed despite living legally in the country for decades.last_img read more