Sept. 16, 2012
STANFORD, CALIF. - Despite a furious comeback in the fourth period, the No. 3-ranked Cal men's water polo team lost its second heartbreaker of Sunday's (Sept. 16) NorCal Invitational, falling to host Stanford, 9-8, in the third place match.
The Golden Bears, led by junior Collin Smith's four goals, dropped to 7-2 on the year after earlier falling to No. 2-ranked UCLA, 11-10 in overtime, in the earlier semifinal match. Against the Cardinal, Cal came back from an 8-3 deficit in the first half by outscoring Stanford, 5-1, in the second half, only to fall short at the end.
Besides Smith's three goals; senior Mason Cox, sophomores Matt Russell and Luka Ivanovic, and true freshman Mitchell Hamilton also scored goals for the Bears against their Bay Area rival. Junior goalie Michael Boggan collected nine saves.
Kirk Everist's squad, which finished the 2011 campaign 22-4, has now suffered six losses in the last two seasons, all by one goal.
Despite three goals from sophomore Aleksa Saponjic and 11 saves from Boggan, Cal suffered its first defeat of the 2012 season against UCLA during the semifinals of the NorCal Invite.
The Bears were outscored 1-0 in the first of the two, three minute overtime periods, to lose to the Bruins in overtime for the second time in the last two match-ups between the two schools. Cal had fallen to UCLA, 7-6 in overtime, in last year's semifinals of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament. The Bruins' Chris Fahlsing scored the match-winner against the Bears at 1:34 of the first overtime session.
On Saturday, Cal opened the NorCal Tournament with a 19-2 victory over Air Force and a 14-7 win over UC Irvine.
"We showed some good signs this weekend," said Everist. "We are disappointed in the two losses but we are very encouraged by the heart that the team showed. We have a lot of work to do, but the season is just beginning,"
The Bears will next face host No. 1-ranked and defending national champion USC on Sunday, Sept. 23 at 1 p.m. in a live televised match on ESPNU. The Trojans defeated UCLA, 7-6, to capture the 2012 NorCal Tournament. In the last meeting between Cal and USC, the Trojans upended the Bears, 9-8, in sudden death overtime in a regular season match at Spieker Aquatics Complex. Cal also fell to USC, 12-10 in overtime, in the 2010 NCAA title match at Spieker Aquatics.
California - 1 2 1 4 = 8
Stanford - 5 3 0 1 = 9
Goalie Saves - Platshon 6 (S); Michael Boggan 9 (C)
California - 3 3 1 3 0-0 = 10
UCLA - 4 1 0 5 1-0 = 11
UCLA Goal Scorers - Samuels 4, Fahlsing 3, Lenhart 2, Barabino, Lathrope
Goalie Saves - Michael Boggan 11 (C); Rapacz 8 (UCLA)