No. 2 Cal Men's Water Polo Visits No. 5 Pepperdine and No. 14 UC Santa Barbara
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  11/02/2005

Nov. 2, 2005


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Sat., Nov. 5 at Pepperdine, Malibu, 12 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 6 at UC Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, 12 p.m.

BEAR BITES: No. 2-ranked California (16-4, 2-1) will be looking at avenge last week's 8-6 home loss to No. 5 Pepperdine (15-6, 1-2) when the Golden Bears travel down to Malibu Saturday for an MPSF contest against the Waves. Pepperdine also gave Cal a disappointing 4-3 loss in the 2004 MPSF Tournament second round. The Bears' loss to the Waves last Saturday was the first time they had fallen to someone other than USC or UCLA this year, but it did not affect Cal's No. 2 ranking in the polls. On Sunday, the Bears will take on another MPSF foe, No. 14 UC Santa Barbara (12-12, 0-3), for the first time this season. On the year, Cal has had two players - junior All-American John Mann (Oct. 4) and senior goalie Nate Bennett (Oct. 25) - garner MPSF Mikasa Player of the Week honors. The Bears have also performed well in the two major regular season tournaments, placing third in the SoCal Tournament and second in the NorCal Tournament. Cal's two losses to No. 1 USC were one goal affairs - 8-7, in the semifinals of the SoCal Open Sept. 18 and, 9-8, in the NorCal final Oct. 16.

CAL'S BALANCED ATTACK: The Bears have had 17 different players tally goals this season, led by Mann's 41 goals, followed by sophomore Michael Sharf (26), junior captain Brian Bacharach (24) and junior Andrija Vasiljevic (21). In Cal's 17-7 victory over Pacific last week, 11 different players scored with Mann notching three goals, and junior Brian Kinsel, Sharf, senior captain Tom Kurth, junior Marty Matthies and sophomore Zac Monsees adding two goals apiece. In the MPSF stat rankings, Mann is fifth with 2.16 goals per game, while Bennett is second with a 5.52 goal against average. As a team, the Bears are second in the league with 10.70 goals per game.

NOTING PEPPERDINE AND UC SANTA BARBARA: No. 5-ranked Pepperdine is 15-6 (1-2 in MPSF), coached by Terry Schroeder (20th year), and led by senior Jesse Smith's 42 goals. Earlier this season, the Waves placed fifth at the NorCal Open; defeating UC San Diego, 11-7; and in their last match, fell 11-9 Oct. 30 at Stanford. Last season, Cal split with Pepperdine, winning 10-8, Oct. 8 at Cal; and losing, 4-3, Nov. 27 in the second round of the MPSF Tournament. No. 14-ranked UC Santa Barbara is 12-12 (0-3 in MPSF), coached by Wolf Wigo (first year), and led by sophomore Coulson Lanzt's 29 goals. The Gauchos placed 13th at the NorCal Open, defeating Santa Clara, 9-7; and in their last two matches defeated Chapman, 16-4, and Occidental, 13-3, on Oct. 30. Last season, Cal split matches with UC Santa Barbara; losing 7-6 in overtime, Oct. 17 at Cal; and winning, 7-6, Nov. 28 in the MPSF Tournament's seventh-place match.

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 41 goals in 2005; fifth in MPSF with 2.16 goals per game; 123 career goals; member of USA Senior National Team. Andrija Vasiljevic, attacker, JR - 2004 Honorable mention All-American; MPSF third team; 21 goals in 2005; 96 career goals. Marty Matthies, center back, JR - 2004 Honorable mention All-American; considered the team's top all-around player and defender; 10 goals in 2005; member of USA Senior National Team. Nate Bennett, goalie, SR - Oct. 25 MPSF Mikasa Player of the Week; 2005 team captain; 2004 MPSF honorable mention; 141 saves in 2005; second in MPSF with 5.52 goal against average; 452 career saves; member of USA Senior National Team. Brian Kinsel, center, JR - 2004 MPSF honorable mention; 16 goals in 2005; 85 career goals. Brian Bacharach, attacker, JR - 2005 team captain; 24 goals in 2005; 90 career goals. Michael Sharf, attacker, SO - 26 goals in 2005, 48 career goals; member of USA Senior National Team. Tom Kurth, center, SR - 2005 team captain; 10 goals in 2005; 21 career goals. Shea Buckner, center back, FR - 12 goals in 2005; member of USA Senior National Team.

HEAD COACH Kirk Everist: Fourth year at Cal, 76-32 (.704). 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.