No. 5 California Opens 2008 Campaign at No. 8 UC Davis
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  01/23/2008

Jan. 23, 2008

Complete Release in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

BERKELEY - This Week in Cal Water Polo
California begins its 2008 season with a nonconference game at UC Davis on Sunday. The Cal women's water polo team is in its third year under former Olympic men's water polo coach Richard Corso. The Golden Bears finished 12-11 overall and 6-6 in the MPSF last season, which was the program's 10th consecutive winning season. Cal returns 16 letterwinners, including the top three scorers in sophomore two-meter Grace Reynolds, senior defender Molly Hayes and sophomore defender Meghan Corso, and boasts three newcomers. The Bears lose four letterwinners from last year's team and will be most noticeably without four-time All-American Elsie Windes.

Scouting the Aggies
UC Davis women's water polo went 25-7 in 2007, which was the highest win total by a UCD team since 1999, and finished 10th in the final national coaches' poll. Seniors Christi Raycraft (second on the team with 49 goals) and Casie Mota (third on the team with 38 goals) highlight the list of 18 returners for the Aggies, who lost four letterwinners from last year's team. UC Davis, which went to the NCAA Tournament in 2006, finished second in the Western Water Polo Association after losing 6-5 to Loyola Marymount in the title game. Head coach Jamey Wright is in his 25th year at the helm for UCD and has posted a 236-142 record in 11 years as a varsity coach.

Cal Tabbed for Third-Place Finish
The California women's water polo team was predicted to tie for third place in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, according to a preseason coaches' poll released Jan. 18. The Golden Bears, who tied with Stanford with 107 points, earned one first-place vote. UCLA, which has won three straight national championships and return three scoring leaders from last season's squad, took first place in the poll with 132 points and 11 first-place votes.

The Golden Bears of 2008
With another year of experience under its belt, the 2008 California women's water polo team is poised for a successful season. The Bears return 12 of their 15 scorers and all three goalies from last season - and with that comes familiarity and chemistry that head coach Richard Corso said will give the team an advantage this year. Cal competes in the competitive Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, from which all seven NCAA championship teams have come. The Golden Bears will face off against all 13 teams in the MPSF and some of them multiple times as many of the teams will join Cal in the Stanford Invitational and a tournament at UC Irvine early in the season.

Senior Leadership
Three seniors - goalie Heather Stuart, defenders Molly Hayes and Katya Eadington - will provide the Golden Bears with identifiable leaders in the pool. Stuart logged 85 percent of Cal's goalie minutes last season and averaged 8.33 saves per game, eighth in the MPSF. Hayes was second on last season's squad with 32 goals and was the leading scorer in six games. Eadington offers depth at the defender position and notched four goals last year.

Cal Welcomes Peterson, Chiapuzio, Kemp
Richard Corso adds three true freshmen to this year's roster in defender Jillian Chiapuzio and two-meter defenders Alyssa Peterson and Coral Kemp. Peterson, a first-team All-CIF selection, and Chiapuzio led Newport Harbor High School to a Sunset League championship in 2007. Kemp was selected the 2006-07 CIF Division VI Player of the Year and is also a three-time All-CIF first-team selection, three-time all-league pick, a two-time Ocean League MVP and a two-time NISCA All-American.

Bears Ink Four Recruits
Four high school recruits have signed national letters of intent to play for California. Emily Csikos, a member of the Canadian junior national team from 2004-06, is a current senior national team member. Lindsay Dorst, the only United States native to sign a NLI with Cal, is an All-American goalkeeper and member of the USA youth team. Athina Vazeos only began playing water polo five years ago but has quickly transformed into an elite athlete at the national level in Canada and has helped her club team to multiple national championships. Libby McLaren amassed a multitude of awards and championships while playing for Australian club teams and is a standout on the Miramonte HS team.

Did You Know?
*Two members of the 2008 Cal squad, senior Molly Hayes and sophomore Grace Reynolds, have brothers (twin brother senior Mike Hayes, junior Frank Reynolds) who were members of the Bears' 2006 and 2007 National Champion men's water polo teams.
*At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Cal had three former players (Ericka Lorenz, Heather Petri, Courtney Johnson) compete for Team USA in the first-ever Olympic water polo competition for women, earning a silver medal. At the 2004 Athens Olympics, Lorenz and Petri helped the United States to a bronze medal.
*The Golden Bears have compiled a 256-99 record (247-91, .731, 71-28 at Spieker Aquatics, .717) since their charter season as a varsity sport in 1996, including three straight national runner-up finishes from 1996-98 and a MPSF title in 1999.

2008 MPSF Preseason Coaches' Poll
Rank Current Ranking/Team Points 2007 Record 1 No. 1 UCLA 132 (11) 28-2 overall, 11-1 MPSF 2 No. 2 USC 116 22-6 overall, 10-2 MPSF 3 No. 5 California 107 (1) 12-11 overall, 6-6 MPSF 3 No. 3 Stanford 107 27-3 overall, 12-0 MPSF 5 No. 4 Hawaii 96 17-10 overall, 3-9 MPSF 6 No. 6 SDSU 78 29-10 overall, 8-4 MPSF 7 No. 7 SJSU 71 16-13 overall, 6-6 MPSF 8 No. 11 Arizona State 59 14-14 overall, 5-7 MPSF 9 No. 9 UC Irvine 56 19-13 overall, 4-8 MPSF 10 No. 13 Long Beach State 42 8-19 overall, 3-9 MPSF 11 No. 16 UC Santa Barbara 34 16-22 overall, 2-10 MPSF 12 No. 17 Cal State Northridge 27 16-19 overall, 2-10 MPSF 13 Pacific 11 5-25 overall, 0-12 MPSF