Sept. 4, 2007
BERKELEY, CALIF. -
Sat., Sept. 8 at Pacific, St. Mary's High School, Stockton, Calif. 12 p.m. Sun., Sept. 9 UC Davis, Spieker Aquatics Complex, Berkeley, Calif. 12 p.m.
BEAR BITES: The No. 2-ranked Cal men's water polo team, the defending 2006 national champions, competes against local opponents this week in a pair of noon matches, traveling to No. 13 Pacific on Saturday and hosting No. 11 UC Davis Sunday in the 2007 home-opener at Spieker Aquatics Complex. The Golden Bears kicked off the season with a successful trip to the Navy Open last weekend in Annapolis, Md., outscoring their opponents, 66-23, by defeating No. 18 Bucknell (11-7), No. 11 and host Navy (12-7), Johns Hopkins (23-3) and No. 14 St. Francis (20-6). Cal was paced by the spectacular offense of senior All-American Michael Sharf, who was the MPSF Co-Player of the Week after leading the Bears in scoring in every match and tallying 18 goals in the four contests. Cal was also bolstered by the play of senior All-American goalie Mark Sheredy, who had 20 saves in matches against Navy and St. Francis. The Bears feature five returning All-America standouts - seniors Sheredy, Sharf, Jeff Tyrrell and Adam Haley, and sophomore Spencer Warden. Cal also showcases seniors Zac Monsees and Mike Hayes, who now have 66 and 46 career goals, respectively; and junior Frank Reynolds, a key contributor last season who notched a goal against USC in the NCAA title match. Sheredy, a first-team All-American and 2006 NCAA Tournament MVP, returns to man the goal, while Sharf, a 2006 honorable mention All-American, is Cal's top returning scorer with 48 goals last season (119 career goals). The Bears also return Tyrrell, a third-team All-American who knocked in the match-winning goal against USC in the national championship (fourth leading scorer with 41 goals in 2006, 61 career goals); Haley, a HM All-American who is one of Cal's best two-meter defenders; and Warden, a talented driver and defender who was an HM All-American and the 2006 MPSF and Daily Californian Newcomer of the Year. This season, the Bears will be hosting both the NorCal (Sept. 15-16) and MPSF Tournament (Nov. 23-25) at Spieker Aquatics Complex.
CAL DOMINATES THE NAVY OPEN: Cal dominated the Navy Open, Sept. 1-2 at the LeJeune Hall Pool on the Navel Academy campus, and has now gone 16-0 at the Annapolis, Md. tournament in the past four seasons. Sharf garnered MPSF Player of the Week honors after collecting 18 goals, three assists, five steals and forced six ejections throughout the four matches of the Navy Open. He also had a career-high six goals against host Navy and five goals against St. Francis. Other highlights, besides Sharf's offense and Sheredy's defense, included Hayes' team-high 11 assists and Warden's team-high 10 steals. Two newcomers, senior transfer Vladislav Andreyev and redshirt freshman Brian Dudley, also excelled in their first action with the Bears. Andreyev, a 6-3, 193-pound junior college transfer (Diablo Valley CC) from Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan, finished with six goals, six assists, three steals and a field block; while Dudley, a 6-5, 206-pounder from Johannesburg, South Africa, had four goals, two assists, five steals and a team-high seven ejections earned. Sixteen different players scored for the Bears at the Navy Open.
NOTING PACIFIC AND UC DAVIS: No. 13-ranked Pacific (2-2), coached by Mike Maroney (fifth year), defeated Johns Hopkins (11-10) and George Washington (17-15) on Sunday, but had fallen to Navy in overtime (13-12) and Bucknell (10-5) Saturday at the Navy Open. The Tigers are led by senior Andy Skora, who had five goals in UOP's victory over George Washington. Cal defeated Pacific twice last season - 20-8, Sept. 7 in Berkeley, and, 16-6, Nov. 11 in Stockton. Cal associate head coach Boyd Lachance was a two-year starter at Pacific from 1992-93. No. 11-ranked UC Davis (3-1), which defeated host UC San Diego, 11-7, last week in the third-place match of the UCSD Triton Invitational, is coached by Steve Doten (seventh year), who played at Cal from 1986-88 and was an assistant coach for the Bears' women's water polo team from 1996-99. The Aggies are led by junior Adam Bennett, who has 10 goals and whose older brother, Nate Bennett, was an All-American goalie at Cal from 2002-05. Aggie assistant coach, Tom Kurth, played for the Bears from 2002-05 as well. Last season, Cal defeated UC Davis, 19-4, Sept. 7 in Berkeley; 19-9, Sept. 23 at the Air Force Open; and 10-6, Nov. 12 in Davis.
HEAD COACH Kirk Everist: A 2004 inductee into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame, head coach Kirk Everist is in his sixth year, owning a 114-36 mark (.760) after leading the Bears to a 31-4 mark and the program's 12th NCAA crown in 2006. Cal also won the MPSF title last season and Everist was named Division I Coach of the Year. In 2002, he was selected MPSF Coach of the Year after guiding his alma mater to the league tournament title and the Bears' first NCAA Final Four appearance since 1995 in his inaugural 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 sixth season, and Sean Nolan, a 2000 USA Olympian, who is in his third season. Nolan was a three-time All-American at Cal, helping lead the Bears to the 1991 and 1992 NCAA titles
DID YOU KNOW? Since its charter season in 1918, Cal has won a NCAA record 12 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.
EXTRA BEAR NOTES: In 2006, Cal had an impressive 10 players selected to the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches All-America Team, which tied the Bears' 1974 squad for the most All-Americans in a single year...returning Cal All-Americans include Sheredy, who was also MPSF All-Tournament and third-team All-MPSF; Tyrrell, who besides his game-winner in the title match versus USC, was MPSF honorable mention; Sharf, who was MPSF All-Academic and is a member of the USA National Training Team; Haley, an MPSF All-Academic selection, and Warden, who was named MPSF Newcomer of the Year, MPSF All-Tournament and MPSF All-Academic. Warden led the Bears with 61 steals, finished the 2006 season with 29 goals and had the match-winning assist to Tyrrell in the NCAA title match victory over USC...Warden played on the USA U20 squad that competed this summer at the Junior World Championships in Los Alamitos, Calif....former Cal standout John Mann, was featured in the August 6 issue of Sports Illustrated's Faces in the Crowd after winning the Peter J. Cutino Award as the nation's best male collegiate water polo player in 2006...Mann is the first Bear to earn the prestigious award named after the former Cal coaching legend who won eight NCAA titles...Mann went on to help the USA National Team to a gold medal at this summer's PanAm Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, qualifying Team USA for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.