Cal Men's Water Polo Opens 2007 Season at Navy Open
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  08/28/2007

Aug. 28, 2007

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Sat.-Sun. Sept. 1-2 at Navy Open,
LeJeune Hall Pool, Annapolis, Md. All Day

BEAR BITES: The 2007 Cal men's water polo team, the defending 2006 national champions, will begin its quest for an NCAA-record 13th national title this weekend when the Golden Bears travel to the Navy Open in Annapolis, Md. No. 2-ranked Cal (National Collegiate Preseason Poll) will play four matches against some of the top teams from the Collegiate Water Polo Association - No. 18 Bucknell, No. 11 and host Navy, Johns Hopkins and No. 14 St. Francis (N.Y.). The Bears feature five returning All-America standouts - seniors Mark Sheredy, Michael Sharf, Jeff Tyrrell and Adam Haley, and sophomore Spencer Warden. The Bears also showcase seniors Zac Monsees and Mike Hayes, who have 60 and 44 career goals, respectively; and junior Frank Reynolds, a key contributor 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 (101 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 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 VERSUS THE CWPA: The Bears will play Bucknell at 12:40 p.m. and host Navy at 7:40 p.m. on Sat., Sept. 1 at LeJeune Hall Pool. Cal then plays Johns Hopkins at 9:10 a.m., and St. Francis at 3 p.m., on Sun, Sept. 2. Bucknell ended last year fourth in the CWPA rankings and 18th in the National Collegiate poll. Navy is the preseason No. 1-ranked team in the CWPA and competed in last year's NCAA Tournament, falling to USC, 20-3, and UC San Diego, 12-8, to finish fourth at the national championship. Johns Hopkins ended the 2006 season ranked No. 6 in the CWPA poll, while St. Francis was ranked No. 3 in the CWPA and 15th in the nation in 2006. The Bears are 11-0 in three years competing at the Navy Open.

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 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.

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 112-36 mark (.757) 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. Nolan was a three-time All-American at Cal, helping lead the Bears to the 1991 and 1992 NCAA titles

CAL PICKED SECOND IN MPSF: The Bears are picked to finish second in the annual MPSF Preseason Men's Water Polo Coaches Poll, trailing USC by six points in the voting, with Cal earning two first-place votes. UCLA was selected to place third; UC Irvine fourth; Stanford, fifth; Pepperdine, sixth; UC Santa Barbara, seventh; Long Beach State, eighth; and Pacific ninth.

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.