No. 5 California Visits Pacific
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  01/28/2008

Jan. 28, 2008

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BERKELEY, Calif. - This Week in Cal Women's Water Polo
California (1-0 overall) opens its Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play with a trip to Stockton, Calif. on Jan. 30 to play Pacific (0-0). The Golden Bears continue MPSF action against No. 7 San Jose State (4-0) on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 12 p.m. Cal will face off against Sonoma State (1-1) on Sunday, Feb. 3 at 12 p.m. The homes games are the first of the 2008 campaign for the Bears and both will take place at Spieker Aquatics Complex.

Scouting the Tigers
Pacific opens its season against California on Jan. 30 at Chris Kjeldsen Pool in Stockton, Calif. The Tigers finished 5-25 overall and 0-12 in the MPSF last season. Pacific returns nine letterwinners and welcomes 10 newcomers. UOP will look to seniors goalie Jocelyn Gray and utilities Kellie Fletcher and Virginia McConnell, who each have three years of varsity experience, to lead the team. Head coach Megan Thompson is in her second year at UOP and led the Tigers to a 5-25 season last year after a 0-22 finish in 2006. The Bears lead the all-time series, 19-0 since the 1997 season.

Starting on the Right Foot
The Golden Bears opened their 2008 campaign with a 13-6 victory over UC Davis on Jan. 27 at UCD's Schaal Aquatics Center. Cal opened the game with three unanswered goals and combined to shoot 6-for-7 in the first quarter. The Aggies scored three goals in the first quarter to Cal's six, and goalie Heather Stuart only allowed three goals in the final three periods of play. UC Davis never approached closer than its three-goal deficit with the Bears scoring three goals in the third period and two in the fourth. Cal shot 13-25 compared to UCD's 6-25 to take the nonconference victory, 13-6. Defenders sophomore Meghan Corso and senior Molly Hayes each had three goals.

Between the Posts
Senior goalie Heather Stuart helped the Golden Bears to a season-opening 13-6 victory over No. 8 UC Davis on Sunday. Stuart played all 32 minutes in goal, notching 12 saves. Stuart only allowed four first-half goals, half of which were man-advantage goals. Aggie freshman Dakotah Mohr fired two shots in a 6-on-5 opportunity in the final seconds of the first half, but Stuart stopped both attempts. Stuart stopped six shots on goal in the third period alone and allowed just three goals in the final three quarters of play.

On the Deck With Head Coach Rich Corso
On defeating UC Davis:
"I liked the way we started and finish the game - we played very well in the first and fourth quarters. In our second and third periods of play, at times we got away from our game plan. The game was very, very physical up there, but I thought generally we accomplished our goals. I felt pretty good about it and the girls did too. It's great to start off with a seven-goal win. I've got to think we're going in the right direction."

On the upcoming week of multiple games:
"I'm only thinking about the first quarter against UOP. For me to get into the mindset of playing UOP and San Jose State and Sonoma State, I can't do that. That was a critical error the team made last year. The focus right now is to come out strong in the first period against UOP and to make adjustments along the way. We learned a valuable lesson last year and we don't want to make that kind of error ever again."

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
The Bears return 12 of their 15 scorers and all three goalies from last season - and with that comes familiarity and chemistry that 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 finished 12-11 overall and 6-6 in the MPSF last season, which was the program's 10th consecutive winning season. Cal returns 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.

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.