Long Beach State junior attacker Austin Stewart looks to pass the ball in Saturday’s game against Pacific.
Men's Sports, Men's Water Polo, Sports

No. 7 LBSU will have its hands full against No. 1 USC

Tonight’s game for the No. 7-ranked Long Beach State men’s water polo team will be a challenge.

LBSU (9-6) will make the trek up to No. 1 USC’s Uytengsu Aquatics Center as the two top-10 teams square off at 5 p.m.

This will be the second meeting of the season between the 49ers and Trojans (16-1). LBSU was defeated 13-5 to USC in its final game at the Aggie Invitational in Davis on Sept. 17. USC has won the last 29 games in the series.

“USC is a good team, they’ve got a very different way of playing and they have a good coach,” junior goalie Thomas Freeman said. “They do things a little differently from what we’re used to, they’re similar to Pacific [Tigers] in ways.”

Similar to the No. 5 Pacific might not bode well for the 49ers Thursday. LBSU is coming off a 14-10 loss to Pacific on Saturday, the third time the 49ers have fallen to the Tigers this season.

“It hasn’t been the start to the season that we’ve wanted it to be,” Freeman said. “Mentally we’re not in a place we want to be, but tomorrow is a great opportunity to turn our season around if we can get a good result against SC.”

Junior attacker Austin Stewart will look to spark the 49ers’ offense and score more than the five goals LBSU posted against the Trojans earlier this year. Stewart scored four goals in the last game Saturday and currently leads the team with 29 on the season.

Taking down the No. 1-ranked team in any sport is difficult and the 49ers will have their work cut out for them in order to pull off a monumental upset on the road. USC is 68-15 all-time against LBSU.

“They’re a great team, great program and we gotta go play them at their pool,” head coach Gavin Arroyo said. “We’re gonna have to have a great day, and they’re probably gonna have to have an off-day in all reality.”

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