No. 3 Cal Water Polo Hosts No. 2 Stanford in Battle at Spieker Aquatics Complex.
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  09/28/2005

Sept. 28, 2005


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Sat., Oct. 1 Stanford, Spieker Aquatics Complex,
Berkeley, Calif. 1 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 2 UC Santa Cruz/Santa Clara,
Spieker Aquatics Complex, Berkeley, Calif.10 a.m./1 p.m.

BEAR BITES: Spieker Aquatics Complex will host the best in collegiate water polo this Saturday as the No. 3-ranked California men's water polo team (7-1) entertains No. 2-ranked and Bay Area rival Stanford (6-1) in an MPSF league showdown. This game counts towards this season's Lexus Gauntlet all-sports contest between Cal and Stanford. The Bears will then host No. 20 UC Santa Cruz (4-5) and Santa Clara (6-5) in a doubleheader Sunday. The Bears and the Cardinal are coming off impressive performances at the SoCal Open, Sept. 17-18 in Irvine, Calif., with Cal placing third after falling 8-7 to USC in the semifinals, but rebounding to defeat defending NCAA champion UCLA, 8-7, in overtime. Stanford had upset UCLA in the semifinal, 10-9 in overtime, and fell to USC in the title match, 7-5. The Bears are strong contenders for the 2005 NCAA title, featuring returning junior All-Americans John Mann (team-leading 60 goals in 2004), Andrija Vasiljevic (honorable mention All-American, 39 goals) and Marty Matthies (honorable mention All-American, 14 goals). The Bears also have senior goalie Nate Bennett, who recorded 216 saves in 29 matches last season, and junior attacker Brian Bacharach, the team's second leading scorer in 2004 with 48 goals. Mann, Matthies, Bennett, sophomore Michael Sharf and freshman Shea Buckner are all members of the USA Senior National Team Training Roster for the 2008 Olympic Games.

CAL SHINES AT THE SOCAL OPEN: The Bears represented themselves well at the SoCal Open, a tournament that included all the top collegiate teams in the nation, defeating Cal Baptist, 17-4, and UC San Diego, 8-6, Sept. 17. In the semifinals Sept. 18, Cal lost an 8-7 battle to USC, with Mann and Vasiljevic's scoring two goals apiece, and Bacharach, Sharf and Buckner also tallying goals. In the In the UCLA upset, Vasiljevic scored his third goal of the match with 2:35 left in the first overtime period as Cal held on to defeat the top-ranked Bruins. Vasiljevic had scored an extra-man goal with 1:27 left in regulation to pull Cal within 7-6 and Sharf converted with five seconds left in the fourth quarter to send the match into overtime. Senior goalie Bennett was stellar with 12 saves. Sophomore Zac Monsees also registered a pair of goals for the Bears, and Matthies scored for Cal as well. Junior Brian Kinsel led the Bears with two steals and Mann added three assists. For the weekend, Vasiljevic led Cal with eight goals, while Sharf and Bacharach had seven goals apiece, and Mann had five goals.

NOTING STANFORD VERSUS CAL: No. 2-ranked Stanford is 6-1 (host Pacific, Sept. 29), coached by John Vargas (fourth year) and is led by senior Thomas Hopkins with 20 goals. The Bears upset the Cardinal in the last match-up, 6-5, in the Nov. 20, 2004 Big Splash at Spieker Aquatics Complex, led by two goals apiece from Vasiljevic and Bacharach, and 12 saves from Bennett. Cal and Stanford represent the best in collegiate water polo as the two schools have met seven times for the NCAA title, with the Bears winning the national title over their Bay Area rival in 1984 (9-8), 1990 (8-7) and 1992 (12-11 in sudden death overtime). In all, Cal has won 11 NCAA titles, and Stanford 10.

GOLDEN BEARS TO WATCH: John Mann, center, JR - 2004 first-team All-American; 2004 first-team All-MPSF; team-leading 16 goals in 2005; fifth in MPSF with 2.00 goals per game; 98 career goals. Andrija Vasiljevic, attacker, JR - 2004 Honorable mention All-American; MPSF third team; 11 goals in 2005; 86 career goals. Marty Matthies, center back, JR - 2004 Honorable mention All-American; considered the team's top all-around player and defender. Nate Bennett, goalie, SR - 2005 team captain; 2004 MPSF honorable mention; 52 saves in 2005; second in MPSF with 4.75 goal against average; 363 career saves. Brian Kinsel, center, JR - 2004 MPSF honorable mention; 75 career goals. Brian Bacharach, attacker, JR - 2005 team captain; 12 goals in 2005, 78 career goals. Michael Sharf, attacker, SO - 11 goals in 2005, 33 career goals; Tom Kurth, center, SR - 2005 team captain; 12 career goals.

HEAD COACH Kirk Everist: Fourth year at Cal, 67-26 (.720). A 2004 inductee into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame and a member of the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame, Everist was named 2002 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Coach of the Year after guiding his alma mater to the MPSF title and first NCAA Final Four appearance since 1995 in his first 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 fourth season, and Sean Nolan, a 2000 USA Olympic goalie who is in his first season. Nolan was a two-time All-American at Cal, helping the Bears to the 1991 and 1992 NCAA titles.

DID YOU KNOW? Since its charter season in 1918, Cal has won a NCAA record 11 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.