Nov. 22, 2011
Fri.-Sun., Nov. 25-27 at MPSF Tournament, Spieker Aquatics Center Los Angeles, Calif.
The No. 3 Cal men's water polo team (20-3, 7-1 MPSF), winners of six straight matches and second in the conference standings, travels to the 2011 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament, Nov. 25-27 at UCLA's Spieker Aquatics Center. The Golden Bears, owners of an NCAA-record 13 national water polo titles, will face No. 7-seeded UC Irvine (15-11, 2-6) Friday, Nov. 25 at 11:30 a.m. Earlier this season Cal defeated the Anteaters, 14-6, Oct. 30 in an MPSF match at Spieker Aquatics Complex. The winner of the MPSF Tournament receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, Dec. 3-4, at Cal's Spieker Aquatics Complex. The Bears have not lost since falling, 9-8 in sudden death overtime, to No. 1-ranked and three-time defending national champion USC on Oct. 15 at Cal. The Bears' three losses this season have all been by one goal (6-5 to UCLA Sept. 18, 10-9 in overtime to Stanford Oct. 2, and 9-8 in sudden death overtime to USC Oct. 15). Conversely, Cal has two victories over both UCLA (8-4 Oct. 2 and 8-5 Oct. 7) and Stanford (8-7 Sept. 18 and 11-4 Nov. 19). The Bears feature the 2010 National Player of the Year Ivan Rackov, who leads the MPSF in scoring with 63 goals in 22 matches (2.86 gpg). Cal also leads the MPSF in team scoring with 12.43 goals per game, and are third behind USC and Stanford in team defense (6.00 gpg). The Bears have outscored their opponents, 286-138, this season. On Sept. 5 Rackov was this year's first MPSF Player of the Week with 12 goals in Cal's Sept. 3 home victories over UC Davis and Santa Clara, and was the Oct. 24 conference POW with four goals in an 11-8 win over No. 6 Pepperdine. The Bears' junior goalie, Justin Parsons, was tabbed as the Oct. 10 MPSF Player of the Week after tallying 26 saves in MPSF wins at UCLA and Long Beach State, and a victory at UC San Diego.
About the MPSF Tournament:
The 2011 MPSF Tournament features the top eight teams in the MPSF standings. Other Friday matches include No. 1-seed USC (20-2, 8-0) versus No. 8-seed Pacific (12-11, 2-6) at 10 a.m., No. 3-seed UCLA (20-4, 6-2) versus No. 6-seed Pepperdine (12-11, 2-6) at 1:30 p.m. and No. 4-seed Stanford (18-5, 5-3) versus No. 5-seed UC Santa Barbara (15-10, 3-5) at 3 p.m. If the Bears win Friday, they would play the winner of UCLA-Pepperdine at 3 p.m. Saturday. If Cal wins its semifinal, it would play for the MPSF title at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 27. The Bears last captured the 2006 MPSF title when they upset No. 1 USC, 6-5, in Irvine. Cal also won the 2002, 1995, 1993 and 1992 MPSF Tournaments (second-most in the MPSF behind USC's seven titles). For ticket information and complete bracket/results of the 2011 MPSF Tournament go to 2011 MPSF Tournament Page 2011 MPSF Tournament Page.
Bears' 2011 Scenario:
Rackov now has 228 career goals, second on the Bears' all-time scoring list behind Chris Humbert's 296 goals from 1988-91...Rackov also leads Cal with 59 assists and 57 steals, while junior Ayal Keren leads with 37 ejections earned and sophomore Hunter Gettlefinger has a team-best nine field blocks...senior Luka Saponjic is second on the team with 38 goals, while his freshman brother, Aleksa, is third with 28 goals...in 2011, the Bears look to win the NCAAs for the first time since topping USC in 2006 (8-7) and 2007 (8-6)...the Bears have the most collegiate titles (13) of any school in the nation...in 2010, Rackov became the first Cal player named the winner of both the Collegiate Water Polo Coaches and the Peter J. Cutino Player of the Year awards, leading the Bears with 79 goals, 82 assists and 70 steals...Rackov was also first-team All-American, first-team All-NCAA Tournament, first-team All-MPSF and first-team MPSF All-Tournament...senior Cory Nasoff was a third-team All-American and second-team All-NCAA Tournament in 2010 with 28 goals and 24 ejections earned, and was a member of the USA National Team that was fourth at the WUG...Parsons was a third-team All-American last year after notching 197 saves, including 21 saves in the two NCAA tournament matches...Parsons currently has 184 saves in 20 matches in 2011...
Head Coach Kirk Everist:
A 2004 inductee into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame, Kirk Everist is in his 10th year with a 222-61 mark (.784), leading the Bears to NCAA titles in 2006 and 2007, and MPSF titles in 2002 and 2006. He was 2006 NCAA and 2002 MPSF Coach of the Year. As a player, Everist won NCAA titles in 1987 and 1988, earning All-America (1986-88) and NCAA Player of the Year (1988). He played for Team USA for nine years (1988-96), competing in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. Everist NCAA.com Interview.
INDIVIDUAL CAL PLAYER NOTES:
5 Marin Balarin:
Junior attacker has 16 goals in 22 matches with six assists, 10 steals, a field block and 24 ejections earned...notched a team-high four goals Oct. 1 versus Santa Clara at the SoCal Tournament, had two goals in an Oct. 30 MPSF match versus UC Irvine and a goal versus Stanford in the Nov. 19 Big Splash...has 25 career goals.
14 Giacomo Cupido:
Sophomore defender/utility has played in 22 matches with 30 steals, 24 assists, seven goals, seven field blocks and five ejections earned...scored a goal against USC in the Oct. 15 MPSF match at Cal and a goal in a 9-8 MPSF win over Pacific Nov. 11 at Cal...has 16 career goals...is from Santa Margherita Ligure, Genova, Italy.
19 Hunter Gettelfinger:
Sophomore attacker has played in 21 matches with 21 steals, 14 assists, eight ejections earned, a team-high nine field blocks and 12 goals...scored goals in MPSF matches versus USC, Long Beach State, Pepperdine and UC Irvine...has 26 career goals.
9 Zach Greenwood:
Senior utility man has played in 22 matches with 12 goals, 14 steals, an assist, five ejections earned and three field blocks...scored goals in MPSF victories over UCLA, Pepperdine and had two goals in league wins over UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine...was the 2010-11 recipient of the Peter J. Cutino Water Polo Trophy as the team's most improved player...has 43 career goals.
21 Luka Ivanovic:
Freshman attacker has seven goals in 22 matches with 15 steals, two assists and six field block...scored two goals in an MPSF win at Long Beach State and a goal against UC Irvine in an Oct. 30 victory at Cal...is from Podgorica, Montenegro.
17 Blake Kelly:
Redshirt freshman defender/utility has played in 22 matches with 14 steals, four assists, 10 goals, five field blocks and four ejections earned...scored goals in MPSF victories Oct. 7 at UCLA and Oct. 21 versus Pepperdine at Cal.
9 Ayal Keren:
Junior utility has 14 goals in 22 matches with 21 steals, a team-high 37 ejections earned, four assists and three field blocks...had a team-high two goals in a Sept. 17 victory over Pepperdine at the NorCal Invitational and had goals in MPSF matches versus USC, Pepperdine and UC Irvine...is a transfer from Diablo Valley College where he was the 2010 Community College Player of the Year...is from Tivon, Israel.
3 Cory Nasoff:
Senior attacker has 16 goals in 20 matches...also has 19 assists, 14 steals, 21 ejections earned and is second on the team with eight field blocks...notched goals in MPSF matches versus USC, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara and Pacific...also had four goals in a Sept. 3 match versus Santa Clara...was a 2009 honorable mention All-American, and a 2010 third-team All-American and second-team All-NCAA Tournament...owns 86 career goals.
1 Justin Parsons:
Junior goalie has 184 saves in 20 matches (603 minutes of action, 9.20 saves per match)...had a top match Nov. 19 at Stanford in the Big Splash, collecting 15 saves with four steals...was named the Oct. 10 MPSF Player of the Week, recording 11 saves in an 8-5 win at No. 3 UCLA, 10 saves in a 14-6 win at Long Beach State and had five saves in two quarters in an 18-8 victory at No. 9 UC San Diego...was a 2010 third-team ACWPC All-American and second-team All-MPSF...has 451 saves in 54 career matches.
6 Ivan Rackov:
Senior attacker leads the MPSF with 63 goals in 22 matches (2.86 gpg) and has twice been named MPSF Player of the Week, Sept. 6 and Oct. 24, with 12 goals in two matches against Santa Clara and UC Davis, and four goals in the MPSF league win over No. 6 Pepperdine...also paces Cal with 59 assists and 57 steals and has led the Bears in scoring in 14 of 23 matches... As a junior in 2010 was named the ACWPC National Player of the Year and the 2010-11 Peter J. Cutino Award winner...was 2010 first-team ACWPC All-American, first-team All-NCAA Tournament, first-team All-MPSF and MPSF All-Tournament...owns 228 career goals, second on the Cal all-time scoring list...was a 2009 third-team All-American...from Belgrade, Serbia.
11 Aleksa Saponjic:
Freshman attacker is third on the team with 28 goals in 19 matches with 19 assists, 16 steals, eight ejections earned and six field blocks...led the Bears with three goals in the Nov. 19 Big Splash at Stanford...scored in all eight MPSF matches with a team-high three goals at Long Beach State and two goals apiece versus UC Irvine and USC...from Belgrade, Serbia and a member of Serbian National Team that won the gold medal at the World University Games this past summer along with older brother Luka.
2 Luka Saponjic:
Left-handed senior attacker is second on the team with 38 goals in 21 matches with 33 assists, 20 steals, 10 ejections earned and eight field blocks...had a goal in the Nov. 19 Big Splash...in MPSF matches had three goals at Long Beach State and two each versus UC Irvine and Pacific...owns 135 career goals, including six goals in the 2009 MPSF Tournament with a team-high four goals in an overtime win over Stanford in the semifinals... from Belgrade, Serbia and a member of Serbian National Team that won the gold medal at the World University Games this past summer along with younger brother Aleksa...was a 2010 honorable mention All-American.
16 Perry Short:
A left-handed sophomore attacker from Cottesloe, Australia...has played in 18 matches with nine goals, seven steals, 13 assists and two ejections earned...scored a goal in the Nov. 19 Big Splash at Stanford and tallied two goals in the Nov. 12 match at UC Davis...has 18 career goals.
7 Collin Smith:
Sophomore attacker has played in 19 matches with 23 goals, 18 steals, 24 assists, seven ejections earned and three field blocks...nailed the match-winning goals in the Bears' MPSF victories at UC Santa Barbara and versus Pacific...also notched a team-high three goals versus Stanford during the Nov. 19 Big Splash...has 39 career goals.
10 Charlie Steffens:
Senior attacker has 13 goals in 22 matches with 16 assists, 23 steals, nine ejections earned and three field blocks...had a goal in the Nov. 19 Big Splash at Stanford and a goal in the Oct. 7 MPSF victory at UCLA...owns 70 career goals, including a pair of goals in last year's MPSF Tournament...was a 2010 honorable mention All-American...father, Carlos, earned All-America honors three times at Cal, helping the Bears to the 1977 NCAA title and garnering the 1979 Pac-10 Player of the Year award.
1 Wil Toppen:
Senior goalie has 39 saves in seven matches (124 minutes of action, 5.57 saves per match) with four assists and three steals...was the recipient of the 2009 Peter J. Cutino Award as the team's most improved player...has 270 saves in 43 career matches (6.28 saves per match).