For the second time in less than a month, the No. 1 USC men’s water polo team traveled to Palo Alto and returned home with a victory.Added boost · Senior driver Tobias Preuss’ recent return from injury further strengthens an already-potent USC attack. Preuss scored his first three goals of the season against Stanford on Saturday. – Chris Roman | Daily TrojanIn a nationally televised match on the Pac-12 Network on Saturday morning, the Trojans (15-0, 2-0) used a third-period surge to defeat No. 5 Stanford (6-3, 0-1) by a score of 9-6.Senior driver Tobias Preuss, in his second week back after missing five weeks to injury, notched his first three goals of the season to lead the Trojans. Junior driver Nikola Vavic contributed two goals.“This is a huge confidence booster for us,” Preuss said. “The atmosphere was like the NCAA’s, and it showed us that we are the best team in the nation. If we can continue to execute our game plan, it’ll be hard for any team to come close to us.”A Berlin native and member of the German national team, Preuss had 16 goals for the Trojans last year and was named an All-America Honorable Mention. Prior to that, Preuss scored 29 goals for the Trojans’ 2010 national championship team. Preuss’ breakout performance Saturday made an already potent offensive attack even more difficult to stop.In their previous matchup in September, the Trojans needed overtime to edge the Cardinal. This time around, the swarming Trojan defense limited Stanford to just four goals through the first three periods. USC never led by fewer than three goals during the final period.“We pressed them hard in the first few possessions, countered them out and pushed Stanford to have to take shots outside of where they’re used to attacking,” Preuss said.In the third quarter, junior utility Mace Rapsey made it 6-4 just 21 seconds after the Cardinal pulled to within one goal, and goals from senior driver Michael Rosenthal and Preuss put the Trojans up 8-4 by the end of the third period.The flurry of goals in the third quarter highlighted one of the best periods the Trojans have played all season and showed their improvement in capitalizing on offensive chances, not letting scoring opportunities go by the wayside.“We knew their goalie was weak on lateral movement, so we didn’t just take the first open shot we had,” senior two-meter Matt Burton said. “We were patient with our offense and made the right passes. What really sets us apart is how great of shape our guys are in. Teams get tired in the second half, but as the game progresses, we get faster. Stanford’s six starters played most of the first half, and we tired them out then in order to put us in really, really good shape for the second half.”The Trojans are the top-scoring team in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, and their offensive prowess made life difficult all day for Stanford goalie Scott Platshon. Though he made 16 saves, Platshon, in his first year as full-time starter, had to be on full alert all day against the calculated Trojan attack.Junior James Clark received the start in goal and made nine saves for the Trojans. After playing in the Olympics on the Australian national team and arriving late to USC as a result, Clark is receiving more playing time in goal as the season progresses.Sophomore Ely Bonilla primarily manned the goal for the first third of the season, but now Clark and Bonilla form a two-headed monster.“My hat goes off to James Clark,” Preuss said. “It’s really great that we have two great goalies to throw out there.”Stanford scored to open the final period, but Preuss completed his hat trick soon after to make it 9-5. The four-goal deficit proved too much for the Cardinal to overcome.“We won the game because we controlled possession,” USC coach Jovan Vavic said. “Our biggest improvement was in our counterattack. We took the shots their goalie gave us, and Toby [Preuss] was the difference-maker by scoring two huge goals in the third quarter.”
From athletes to staff to fans, continuing the Olympics would have put thousands — if not tens or hundreds of thousands — of lives at risk by potentially exposing them to the coronavirus. In my last column, I wrote about the speculation surrounding the potential cancellation of the upcoming Olympics. Even after March 11, when the World Health Organization designated the coronavirus a world pandemic, the IOC still maintained that it would wait until the end of May to make an official decision. What felt like the last major sporting event to survive the coronavirus scourge finally fell to what has seemed for weeks like an inevitable fate. On Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee finally announced that the Summer Olympics in Tokyo would be postponed by approximately one year. Clearly, that’s not the case anymore. The virus’s spread doesn’t appear to be slowing anytime soon and it certainly doesn’t appear that holding a large gathering of thousands of fans from all over the world in the most populated city on the planet is a great idea. Starting the Olympics as scheduled would have turned the city into a virtual feeding frenzy for the virus. Lastly, if postponing the Olympics sends any message at all, hopefully it’s to the countless Americans that still don’t seem to be getting the memo. Across the country, people seem to be taking the cancellation of school and public life as we know it as an excuse to head outside and enjoy themselves, often with no acknowledgment of the recommended six feet of distance between each other that experts recommend. Postponing the Olympics also sends a message to governments and politicians around the world. If they didn’t take it seriously before, if they still think the virus will pass without affecting them, perhaps the postponement of one of the biggest international events in the world — which had previously only ever been postponed or canceled due to world wars — will get their attention. Almost two months ago, the United States reported its first case of the coronavirus, but for most Americans, the threat of a potential pandemic remained an afterthought. This ambivalence has led to predictably disastrous results, and the U.S. is now quickly becoming the epicenter of the pandemic, with more than 100,000 cases — the most of any country on the planet. Still, despite the postponement’s obvious justifications, it is disappointing to see how long it took for the world to acknowledge just how serious COVID-19 is. Nathan Hyun is a sophomore writing about the 2020 Olympics. His column, “Going for the Gold,” typically runs every other Wednesday. President Donald Trump recently released a statement saying how he expects everything to return to normal by Easter. Considering the unrelenting spread of the virus, this seems virtually impossible, nevermind irresponsible. In light of this public display of incompetence, the IOC’s decision appears even more reassuring. The IOC did everyone a favor by postponing the Olympics. Everyone, please wake up to the IOC’s message and take this seriously. The faster you do, the faster the Olympics will be back.