No. 3 California Hosts No. 4 USC
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  03/06/2008

March 6, 2008

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This Week in Cal Water Polo
The No. 3 California women's water polo team (11-4 overall, 4-1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) closes out a three-game homestand March 8 against No. 4 USC (10-4, 3-0 in the MPSF). The Golden Bears are 1-1 against the Women of Troy this season and USC leads the all-time series, 16-18. Cal upset USC, 9-8, on Feb. 24, breaking a 15-game losing streak against the Trojans. The Bears have won their past three games and are 4-1 this season at home, with their only loss coming in the 7-6 heartbreaker to then-No. 4 Hawaii on Feb. 7. Saturday's first sprint is slated for 12 p.m. at Spieker Aquatics Complex.

Last Week in Cal Water Polo
The Bears continued their impressive MPSF run last weekend, defeating No. 11 UC Irvine and No. 13 Long Beach State at home to improve to 4-1 in conference play. Sophomore utility Darby Anderson's game-high three goals and senior goalie Heather Stuart's 18 saves lifted the squad to a 5-3 win. On Sunday, the Bears' offense kicked things up by scoring 13 goals, matching their second-highest total this season. Ten different Bears scored and combined for a 7-0 scoring run to give Cal the 13-3 MPSF victory. California head coach Richard Corso capitalized on the lead and used many substitutions - Erika Hanson, Jillian Chiapuzio and Sara Henry all scored their first goals of the season.

On the Pool Deck With Head Coach Richard Corso
"We're looking forward to competing against USC this weekend. It was nice to get the win in the tournament, but this is an MPSF game; this is where it counts. We've been training hard for them, and we look forward to competing."

Scouting USC
The Women of Troy also bring a three-game winning streak into Saturday's MPSF game. Last weekend, USC defeated No. 9 Loyola Marymount (13-5) and No. 14 Cal State Northridge (12-4), outscoring its opponents in all eight quarters. Sophomore goalie Tumua Anae grabbed 21 saves in six quarters in the net, which garnered her MPSF Mikasa Co-Player of the Week accolades this week. Junior Michelle Stien paces the Trojans, averaging 1.93 goals per game, 12th in the MPSF. The USC keepers, junior Whitney Morgan and Anae, are first (3.00) and second (3.83), respectively, in the MPSF in goals against average. Team Games Goals G/G GA GAA Cal 15 141 9.40 94 6.27 USC 14 149 9.40 72 5.14

Cal in the World of U.S. Water Polo
With the wins over then-ranked No. 4 Hawaii on Feb. 23 and No. 3 USC on Feb. 24, California won its first games of the 2008 campaign over higher ranked teams. The Bears' successful weekend garnered national attention and Cal moved from No. 5 in the national poll to No. 3. Cal's number three ranking is the highest national ranking for the Bears since February 2001 when they were third in the nation. Sophomore two-meter Grace Reynolds is 19th in the nation with 27 goals thus far in the season and senior keeper Heather Stuart's 143 saves are fourth in the national statistics. Additionally, the Bears rank fifth in the nation in defense, allowing just 6.30 goals/game.

Between the Posts
Senior Heather Stuart was once again instrumental in Cal's successful weekend, notching 29 saves between the posts in seven quarters of duty. In the game against No. 11 Irvine, Stuart had a season-high 18 saves to help the Bears to a 5-3 MPSF victory. The Moraga, Cailf., native made 11 stops in goal against No. 13 Long Beach State in three periods of service. Stuart now has 143 saves in 14 games in goal for the Golden Bears and is first in the MPSF in average saves per game at 10.21.

The Golden Bears in the MPSF
With the wins over Irvine and Long Beach State, the Bears currently are in fifth place in the MPSF at 4-1. Cal won its first two conference games - UOP and San Jose State - this season for the first time since 2000 when the Bears went on a 7-0 MPSF winning streak at the beginning of conference play. Grace Reynolds is 15th in the MPSF with 27 goals (1.80 goals/game). Senior Heather Stuart's work between the posts - 10.21 saves/game - places her first among conference goalies. While the Bears are in the middle of the pack at 9.40 goals/game (seventh), California's stellar defense is fourth in the MPSF, allowing just 6.30 goals per game.

Cal Tabbed for Third-Place Finish
California was tabbed 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 returns three scoring leaders from last season's squad, took first place in the poll with 132 points and 11 first-place votes.

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 High School team.

Bears Record When...
Game decided by 5 goals or less: 6-1
Leading at halftime: 10-0
Trailing at halftime: 1-3
Tied at halftime: 0-1
Went into overtime: 2-0
Leading by 5 or more at halftime: 3-0
Holding opponent under 10 goals: 10-4
Scoring 1-8 goals: 2-4
Scoring 9-15 goals: 8-0
Scoring 16-25 goals: 1-0
Playing a higher ranked opponent: 2-4
Playing a lower ranked opponent: 7-0
Playing an unranked opponent: 2-0