1995 Season in Review

The young California men's water polo team almost put the final touches on a dream season. Unfortunately for the Golden Bears, they fell to UCLA, 10-8, in the championship match of the NCAA Tournament at deGuerre Pool on the Stanford campus.

Steve Heaston's squad began the 1995 season ranked fourth and surprised the experts by finishing the season, 20-7, capturing the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament and ending as the national runner-up.

"We try not to have any down years in our program," said Heaston, who was the 1995 conference Coach of the Year and has led the Bears to national titles in 1990, '91 and '92. "To get to the national final with our young team was a major step in maintaining our tradition. We came to the tournament to win, and we were disappointed we came up a little short. Still, it was a pleasure to watch this team grow and develop as the season went on. In the last two weeks of the season, UCLA and Cal were definitely the two best teams in the nation."

The Bears had defeated UCLA, 9-6, earlier in the season to win the MPSF title and earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Final Four. In winning the MPSF Tournament, the Bears were led by true freshman Pat Cochran and senior co-captain Nick Kittredge.

Cochran scored a team-leading eight points in the MPSF, including two, two-point goals. He had been Cal's top scorer in four of the last six matches, finished third on the squad in scoring with 38 points and led the Bears with five, two-point goals. Kittredge scored seven points in the MPSF Tournament and was Cal's leading scorer in five of the team's last nine matches. He ended with 80 points in his college career, was second on the team in scoring in '95 with 48 points and was named Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Year. Senior goalie Toby Dommer also had an excellent conference tournament with 29 saves.

In the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Cal defeated Massachusetts, 10-6. In the victory, the Bears were led by Cochran and another true freshman, Brad Kittredge (brother of Nick), with three goals apiece. Nick Kittredge and sophomore co-captain Brent Albright chipped in two goals each and Dommer played well with 10 saves.

Albright was the Bears top scorer in '95 with 53 points. He was named Co-MVP if the NCAA Tournament (along with three UCLA players). Cochran and Nick Kittredge were NCAA Tournament first team selections and Dommer and sophomore Peter Stern earned second team honors. Albright and Nick Kittredge were later selected first team All-Americans, and Dommer and Cochran were named honorable mention All-Americans.

An indication of Cal's depth, and youth, is that it had 10 players who scored 10 or more points during the season. Of those 10 athletes, seven were either sophomores or freshmen.