Bears Ready For Season-Opener
Sept. 7, 1999
Sat., Sept. 11 vs. UC Davis at Solano CC NoonCAL NOTES: The California men's water polo team finished the '98 season 13-11 overall and 4-4 in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, finishing fifth in the MPSF Tournament after defeating third-seeded UCLA, 7-6, in overtime. The Bears return 14 letterman from last year's squad, but lost six players, including last season's leading scorer, Ryan Flynn (First Team All-American), starting goalie Peter Kiefer (526 career saves) and sprinter Brad Kittredge (Third Team All-American). However, the Bears return three prolific scorers in juniors Jerry Smith (Long Beach), Albert Won (Los Angeles) and Eldad Hazor (Tivon, Israel). With construction completed on Haas Pavillion, the Bears return to Spieker Aquatics Complex on the Berkeley campus for their home matches this season after a two-year hiatus at Diablo Valley College.
HEAD COACH PETER ASCH: Peter Asch 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. Heaston guided the Bears to NCAA titles in 1990, '91 and '92 was named NCAA Coach of the Year twice ('90 and '92), leading Cal to a 224-56 (.800) overall record in his ten seasons as head coach. 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.
UC DAVIS NOTES: Aggies' head coach Tom Elson enters his 10th season at the reins and will look to improve on last season's dismal 3-23 overall record (3-11 in the Western Water polo Association). Elson may have the personnel to do so as he returns senior two-meter man David Akers, the Aggies' leading scorer last season (37 points), and sophomore goalie Gavin Glauser (90 saves). Cal defeated UC Davis, 20-1, last season at a Nov. 1 contest in Pleasant Hill.
BEAR NOTES: Senior Won and the junior trio of Smith and Hazor will lead the Bears offensive attack. Smith, a 6-3 left-hander with good ability in the two-meter set, was second on the squad in scoring with 36 points, garnering honorable mention All-American honors while handling the bulk of the two-meter man duties in the latter half of last season. Won and Hazor will provide strength and speed as field players for the Bears this season. Won, a 5-11 southpaw with a good outside shot, was Cal's third leading scorer last season (behind Flynn and Smith) with 30 points including four two-pointers. The 6-1 Hazor, an all-around solid player with good passing skills and excellent speed, was fourth in scoring last season, behind Won, with 27 points. On the defensive end, senior Kevin Ahasey takes over in goal after serving as Kiefer's backup last season. Assisting Ahasey on defense will be senior two-meter guard Chris Dornin (Laguna Beach). Dornin emerged as one of Cal's top two-meter defenders last year and will serve in that same capacity again this season. The success of the Bears this season may largely hinge upon the play of Cal's stellar sophomore class, featuring field player Rob Arroyo (Orange), and two-meter men Spencer Dornin (Laguna Beach) and Mike West (San Jose). Arroyo, the younger brother of water polo Olympian and Cal alum Gavin, is developing into a good player in his own right, scoring six goals last season. Dornin, will team with his older brother, Chris, on two-meter defense, and should see time in two-meter set as well. The 6-5 lefthander had 10 goals last season, the most among freshman. West, a physical 6-5 two-meter man, saw time at two-meter guard last season and could develop into an offensive threat for the Bears as well.