BERKELEY — The Cal men’s water polo program will be welcoming in a large and talented group of newcomers next fall. The Golden Bears will be bringing in 10 new student-athletes – Lazar Andric, Thomas Appel, Nicholas Carniglia, Jonathan Chow, Luca Cupido, Connor Neumann, Troy Oates, Matt Sherburne, Pedro Stellet and Vassilis Tzavaras – who will join Kirk Everist’s squad for the 2014 campaign.
Included in Cal’s 2014 recruiting class are five High School All-Americans, a High School swimming All-American and top young players from Italy, Greece, Brazil and Montenegro.
“We are very excited about our 2014 class,” said Everist, a former USA Olympian and Cal All-American who led the Bears to the 2006 and 2007 NCAA titles as the Bears’ head coach. “It is a very athletic and balanced group that will help us in the fall and well into the future.”
Lazar Andric is a 6-4, 200-pound goalie from Herceg Novi, Montenegro. He attends Long Beach City College where he was the 2013 Community College Player of the Year. Andric has been a member of the Montenegrin Youth and Junior National Teams, as was as the Jadran Herceg-Novi Club Junior and Senior Teams.
“Lazar will immediately add to the competition at our goalie position,” said Everist. “He has tremendous international experience at the Junior National and Club levels and had a great year at Long Beach City College in 2013. He is a leader and competitor.”
A 6-4, 225-pound utility player from Riverside, Thomas Appel is a top two-meter hole set and two-meter defender who was a fifth-team High School All-American in 2013 and second-team All-American in 2012 out of Martin Luther King, Jr. High School. Appel also competes for the Elite Water Polo Club in southern California.
“Thomas is a very versatile defensive player who has great size and an excellent perimeter shot,” said Everist. “He comes from excellent club and high school programs and that experience should make the transition to college much easier for him.”
Nicholas Carniglia is a 6-3, 205-pound two-meter defender from Lodi and competed for Lodi High School where he was an eighth-team High School All-American and a member of the USA National Youth Team that captured the silver medal at the UANA Championships in 2013.
“Nick is one of the fastest water polo players to come out of high school this year,” explained Everist. “He has good size and is an outstanding defensive competitor. His international experience as a member of the USA National Youth Team will help improve our overall presence on offense and defense.”
A 6-1, 200-pound left-handed attacker from Gulliver Prep and Miami, Fla., Jonathan Chow is another member of the USA Water Polo National Youth Team and helped lead his high school to the 2014 Florida State High School Championship. Chow is a member of the Gulliver Riptides club team as well.
"Jon has a tremendous amount of potential,” said Everist. “He has received great experience through the USA ODP Program and the USA National Youth Team. As a left-handed attacker he will also give us some much needed depth at that position."
Another top newcomer entering Cal in the fall of 2014 is Luca Cupido, a 6-4, 190-pound attacker from Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy, and younger brother of Bear standout Giacomo Cupido, who shined for Everist’s squad from 2010-2013. Luca was a 2013 first-team high school All-American at Newport Harbor High School and was a member of Italian squads that won gold medals at the 2013 LEN Junior European Championship and the 2013 FINA Junior World Championship. Cupido was also a member of the 2012 FINA Youth World Championship team and competes for the RN Camogli (Italy) Club Team.
“Luca comes to Cal with incredible experience,” said Everist. “He has been a part of many championship teams at the junior level and will bring that experience with him to Berkeley. Luca is a versatile player who can play all positions at the college level”
Conor Neumann is a 6-4, 220-pound left-handed attacker from San Ramon and San Ramon Valley High School where he was a fifth-team High School All-American. Neumann is also a member of the Lamorinda Water Polo Club.
“Conor is a big, strong physical player who has a very strong shot,” said Everist. “As a left-hander he brings an added dimension to our offense, and we have high expectations for him coming into next season”
A 6-4, 235-pound two-meter hole set from Huntington Beach, Troy Oates is a member of the USA National Cadet Team and was a 2012 High School Swimming All-American. Oates is also a member CDM Water Polo Club.
“Troy is a big and athletic two-meter player,” said Everist. “He has very good speed as an experienced swimmer, and has incredible potential. Troy will add to our level of competition and depth at the two-meter position this fall.”
A fellow member of the CDM Water Polo Club who will be joining the Bears is Matt Sherburne, a 6-0, 185-pound attacker from Corona del Mar. Sherburne was a 2013 second-team High School All-American out of Corona del Mar High School.
“Matt brings toughness with him to Berkeley,” said Everist. “He is an excellent post-up player with great hands and is a constant scoring threat.”
Adding to the list of talented international players joining the Cal program is Pedro Stellet, a 6-0, 205-pound two-meter hole set from Rio de Janeiro. As a member of the Brazilian Junior National Team and the Flamengo Water Polo Club, Stellet competed at the 2013 World Junior Championships and helped his squad win the gold medal at the 2013 UANA Junior Championships.
“Pedro has a great motor; he is constantly working and will bring instant energy and passion to our team,” explained Everist. “His international experience and toughness will certainly help our team immediately.”
Vassilis Tzavaras is a 6-0, 175-pound attacker from Athens, Greece who led his team to a silver medal at the 2013 U18 Greek National Championship for the Palaio Faliro Athletic Club Team. Tzavaras then repeated the feat again, leading his Panathinaikos Water Polo Club Team to the silver medal at the 2014 U18 Greek National Championship.
“Vassilas is a very smart player,” said Everist. “He has a lot of experience from the Greek Junior and Senior Leagues. He also has an understanding of the U.S. game as he has spent the past few summers playing for the Lamorinda Club.“This class is a great mix of size, speed, intelligence and experience,” concluded Everist. “We have strengthened our roster at every position and this is a group of high achievers, both in and out of the pool.”