Sept. 13, 1999
Sat-Sun, Sept. 19-20
at Southern California Tournament, Los Angeles, CA
Time: All Day
Hosted by USC at McDonald's Olympic Pool
TOURNEY BREAKDOWN: Cal will play No. 14 Air Force at 1:30 p.m. on Sat. If Cal wins they will play the winner of the No. 5 UC Irvine/No. 17 UC Davis game at 6:55 p.m. on Sat. The winner of that game will advance to the tournament semifinals on Sunday.
LAST WEEK: The fifth-ranked Bears started off their season with a decisive 15-1 victory over No. 17 UC Davis at Solano College. Juniors Jerry Smith and Adam Metzger each had three goals to lead the Bears. Nine Cal players scored goals in the contest. Goalie Kevin Ahasey was impressive in his starting debut, pulling down nine saves and narrowly missing the shutout.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TOURNAMENT: The tournament will host the nation's top 10 teams, according to U.S. Water Polo's preseason poll: No. 1 USC, No. 2 Stanford, No. 3 UCLA, No. 4 Pepperdine, No. 5 (tied with Cal) UC Irvine, No. 7 Long Beach State, No. 8 Pacific, NO. 9 UC Santa Barbara and No. 10 UC San Diego. Also invited to the tournament are No. 14 Air Force, No. 15 Navy and No. 17 UC Davis. The tournament serves as the main early rankings determinant. The Bears finished third in the SoCal Tourney last season, defeating Long Beach St, 8-6, and UC San Diego 9-8 (OT) to advance to the semifinals. Cal then lost to eventual tournament champion USC, 11-6, before defeating Pepperdine, 10-5.
ANTEATERS HAVE HAD EDGE OVER BEARS: If Cal defeats Air Force in the first round of Saturday's tournament, the No. 5 Bears will most likely face their fifth-ranked counterparts, UC Irvine. Cal and the Anteaters had a pair of close games last year. On Oct. 16, Irvine came to Pleasant Hill for a pre-NorCal Tournament matchup. The Bears lost to the Anteaters 9-8 despite three goals from Ryan Flynn. The next day, Cal and Irvine squared off again, this time in the first round of the Nor Cal Tournament and, once again, the Anteaters prevailed, 9-8, despite three goal efforts from Smith and Albert Won. That loss marked the beginning of a four-game losing streak for Cal that saw the Bears fall to 7-8.
BEAR NOTABLES: The Bears will be led this season by junior Jerry Smith (Long Beach) and senior Albert Won (Los Angeles). Smith, a 6-3 left-hander, was second on the squad in scoring with 36 points on his way to garnering honorable mention All-American honors last season. Won, a 5-11 left-hander, was Cal's third leading scorer last season (behind Flynn and Smith) with 30 points including four two-pointers.
THE COACHES: Peter Asch (1-0, 1.000) begins his first season as Cal's head coach, replacing Steve Heaston, who passed away in the off-season after a long battle with brain cancer. Asch was a three-time All-American player for Cal from 1967-69, serving as team captain in '68 and '69. Last season, Asch served as head coach of the women's water polo team, a position he will continue to hold, leading the women to a 28-7 overall record and an MPSF title. Assistant coach Doug Arth enters his 11th season with the Bears. A four year-letterwinner as a player for Pete Cutino in the early seventies, Arth was the 1972 AAU Outdoor National Player of the Year and a two-time All-American (1973 and '74).