Cal MWP Defeats Pepperdine, 11-9, in MPSF Opener
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  11/23/2012

Nov. 23, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CALIF - The No. 4 ranked Cal men's water polo team, led by four goals from sophomore Olympian Aleksa Saponjic and three goals from junior Collin Smith, defeated No. 7-ranked Pepperdine, 11-9, Friday (Nov. 23) in the first round of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament. The Golden Bears (16-7), who are the No. 3-seeded team in the tournament, will next face No. 2-ranked UCLA at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Cal has now won six matches in a row and will face a Bruins squad that is 25-2, including defeating the Bears, 11-10 in overtime Sept. 16 at the NorCal Tournament and upending Cal, 10-9 in sudden death overtime, Oct. 6 in Berkeley. Cal will also be looking to avenge UCLA's 7-6 overtime victory over the Bears in last year's MPSF Tournament semifinal at UCLA. The Bruins defeated Pacific, 10-8, in another first round match of the MPSF Tournament at USC.

Cal trailed the Waves, 4-1, after the first period and was behind Pepperdine, 6-5, entering the fourth quarter. But, the Bears dominated the final period by outscoring the Waves (11-11), 6-3, in the final eight minutes.

Along with the scoring of Saponjic and Smith - the top two scorers on Kirk Everist's squad with 45 and 61 goals, respectively - sophomore Luka Ivanovic notched a goal and sophomore goalie Jon Sibley finished with nine saves. Other scorers for the Bears included senior Mason Cox, junior Giacomo Cupido and sophomore Blake Kelly. Saponjic helped lead his native Serbia to a bronze medal at this summer's London Olympics.

If Cal defeats UCLA, it will be in the championship match of the MPSF Tournament Sunday, Nov. 25 at 3 p.m., with the winner earning an automatic bid to the 2012 NCAA championship, Dec. 1-2 at USC.

PEP 4 1 1 3 9

CAL 1 2 2 6 11

SCORING: PEP - Madaras 3, DeTrane 2, Sherburne, Hamby, Carroll, Loomis.

CAL - Aleksa Saponjic 4, Collin Smith 3, Luka Ivanovic,

Blake Kelly, Giacomo Cupido, Mason Cox.

SAVES: PEP - Valics 11 CAL - Jon Sibley 9, Michael Boggan 1 (last 46 seconds)