No. 2 Cal Men's Water Polo Hosts No. 6 UC Irvine, Travels to No. 10 UC Davis
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  10/20/2005

Oct. 20, 2005


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Sat., Oct. 22 UC Irvine, Spieker Aquatics Complex, 4 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 23 at UC Davis, Schaal Aquatics Center, 12 p.m.

BEAR BITES: No. 2-ranked Cal (13-3, 0-1) will be gunning for its first MPSF league victory of the season when the Golden Bears host No. 6 UC Irvine (9-8, 1-0) in a 4 p.m. match Saturday at Spieker Aquatics Complex. Cal then travels to No. 10 UC Davis (10-9) Sunday. The Bears finish second last weekend during the 2005 NorCal Tournament, hosted by Cal. After defeating UC Santa Cruz, 18-2, and Long Beach State, 9-8, in the opening rounds, the Bears upended No. 1 UCLA, 7-6, in the semifinals, before falling to then-No. 2-ranked USC, 9-8, in the final. Cal's three loses this season have been to two teams - twice to No. 1-ranked USC, and once to defending national champion UCLA. The Bears' two losses to the Trojans were one goal affairs - 8-7, in the semifinals of the SoCal Open Sept. 18 and, 9-8, in the NorCal final. Cal lost to UCLA, 7-4, at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center Oct. 8, but defeated the Bruins, 8-7 in overtime in the third place match of the SoCal Open Sept. 18, and 7-6 in the semifinals of the NorCal Open.

CAL STANDOUTS AT THE NORCAL: Sophomore attacker Michael Sharf was outstanding last weekend, scoring a team-high eight goals during the NorCal Open, including a team-leading three goals in Cal's 9-8 victory over Long Beach State, a goal in the victory over No. 1 UCLA in the semifinals, and a team-high three goals in the 9-8 loss to USC in the championship match. Sharf is now second on the Bears with 23 goals in 16 matches. Other top scorers were junior All-American John Mann, who tallied six goals in three NorCal Open matches with a team-high three scores in the Bears' 7-6 win over UCLA. Junior Marty Matthies and freshman Shea Buckner chipped in four goals apiece during the tournament. Matthies had what proved to be the winning score versus the Bruins. Senior goalie Nate Bennett finished with 32 saves, including 12 saves versus Long Beach State and 10 saves versus UCLA.

NOTING UC IRVINE AND UC DAVIS: No. 6-ranked UC Irvine is 9-8 (1-0 in MPSF), coached by Marc Hunt (first year) and is led by freshman Dreason Barry with 38 goals. The Anteaters placed seventh at the NorCal Open; defeating Pacific, 8-5; losing to USC, 7-6; losing to UC San Diego, 11-10; and defeating Long Beach State, 10-9. Last season, Cal split with UC Irvine, winning, 7-6, in the second round of the SoCal Open, and losing in a MPSF match, 8-7, in Irvine. No. 10 UC Davis (10-9) is coached by Steve Doten (fourth year), who played at Cal from 1986-88 and was an assistant coach for Cal's women's water polo team from 1996-99. The Aggies are led by senior Patrick Jacobson's 37 goals, and have three players - Adam Bennett, Kevin Bacharach and Jeff Kurth - who older brothers play for the Bears.

GOLDEN BEARS TO WATCH: John Mann, center, JR - Oct. 4 MPSF Mikasa Co-Player of the Week; 2004 first-team All-American; 2004 first-team All-MPSF; team-leading 31 goals in 2005; fifth in MPSF with 2.07 goals per game; 113 career goals; member of USA Senior National Team. Andrija Vasiljevic, attacker, JR - 2004 Honorable mention All-American; MPSF third team; 16 goals in 2005; 91 career goals. Marty Matthies, center back, JR - 2004 Honorable mention All-American; considered the team's top all-around player and defender; eight goals in 2005; member of USA Senior National Team. Nate Bennett, goalie, SR - 2005 team captain; 2004 MPSF honorable mention; 98 saves in 2005; second in MPSF with 5.44 goal against average; 409 career saves; member of USA Senior National Team. Brian Kinsel, center, JR - 2004 MPSF honorable mention; nine goals in 2005; 78 career goals. Brian Bacharach, attacker, JR - 2005 team captain; 20 goals in 2005; 86 career goals. Michael Sharf, attacker, SO - 23 goals in 2005, 45 career goals; member of USA Senior National Team. Tom Kurth, center, SR - 2005 team captain; 17 career goals. Shea Buckner, center back, FR - Nine goals in 2005; member of USA Senior National Team.

HEAD COACH Kirk Everist: Fourth year at Cal, 73-31 (.702). A 2004 inductee into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame and a member of the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame, Everist was named 2002 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Coach of the Year after guiding his alma mater to the MPSF title and first NCAA Final Four appearance since 1995 in his first year as head coach. A 1990 Cal graduate, Everist led the Bears to consecutive national championships in 1987 and 1988, earning All-American status three straight seasons (1986-88) and NCAA Player of the Year honors in 1988. He went on to play for the USA National Team for nine years (1988-96) and competed in the 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. Everist's staff includes associate head coach Boyd Lachance, who is in his fourth season, and Sean Nolan, a 2000 USA Olympic goalie who is in his first season. Nolan was a two-time All-American at Cal, helping the Bears to the 1991 and 1992 NCAA titles.

DID YOU KNOW? Since its charter season in 1918, Cal has won a NCAA record 11 national titles, including twice winning three NCAA titles in-a-row (1973-75, 1990-92). The Bears have had 11 different players earn National Player of the Year honors, including current head coach Kirk Everist in 1988. From 1990-92, Cal amassed a record of 86-2 for a .977 winning percentage.