No. 2 Cal Men's Water Polo Starts 2005 Season at Navy Labor Day Open
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  08/29/2005

Aug. 29, 2005


Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

Sat.-Sun. Sept. 3-4 at Navy Labor Day Open,
LeJeune Hall Pool, Annapolis, Mary. All Day

BEAR BITES: The No. 2-ranked 2005 California men's water polo team, led by 2004 first-team All-American John Mann, will begin its quest for a NCAA-record 12th national title this weekend when the Golden Bears travel to the Navy Labor Day Open in Annapolis, Maryland. Cal will play three matches against some of the top teams from the Collegiate Water Polo Association - Bucknell, St. Francis (NY), and host Navy. The Bears will also play an exhibition match against Water Polo Planet Euro. Cal should be a strong contender for the 2005 NCAA title, featuring returning junior All-America standouts 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 with 48 goals. Mann, Matthies, Bennett, sophomore Michael Sharf and freshman Shea Buckner are all members of USA Senior National Team Training Roster for the 2008 Olympic Games.

CAL VERSUS THE CWPA: The Bears will play Bucknell at 9:30 a.m. and St. Francis at 5:30 p.m. Sat., Sept. 3, before facing Water Polo Planet Euro at 8:30 a.m. and Navy at 3:30 p.m. Sun, Sept. 4. Bucknell finished last season ranked No. 5 in the CWPA poll, while St. Francis was ranked No. 2 and Navy No. 3. Cal went 4-0 at the 2004 Navy Open, defeating John Hopkins, 18-2; St. Francis, 10-7; Navy, 7-5 and Bucknell, 18-4. Brian Bacharach was selected the MPSF Player of the Week after scoring 12 goals in the four tournament matches, including a team-high four goals in the 2004 season-opener.

GOLDEN BEARS TO WATCH: John Mann, center, JR - 2004 first-team All-American; 2004 first-team All-MPSF; top returning scorer with 60 goals. Andrija Vasiljevic, attacker, JR - 2004 Honorable mention All-American; MPSF third team; 39 goals in 2004. 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; 311 career saves. Brian Kinsel, center, JR - 2004 MPSF honorable mention; 69 career goals. Brian Bacharach, attacker, JR - 2005 team captain; 66 career goals. Tom Kurth, center, SR - 2005 team captain; 11 career goals.

HEAD COACH Kirk Everist: Fourth year at Cal, 60-25 (.704). 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.

KEY RECRUITS: Shea Buckner, center defender, FR - Villa Park HS (Villa Park, CA). Buckner was a first-team high school All-American, the 2004 CIF Division II Player of the Year and is a member of USA Senior National Team. Thomas Pearson, center, FR - Corona del Mar HS (Corona del Mar, CA). Pearson was a second-team high school All-American and is a member of the USA Junior National Team that will compete in the 2005 World Championships in Argentina.

IMPORTANT HOME DATES: Oct. 1 vs. Stanford. The Golden Bears host Bay Area rival Stanford for their opening MPSF league match of the 2005 season. Oct. 15-16 Northern California Open. Cal plays host to the 2005 Northern California Open, featuring the nation's top men's water polo teams.

2004 REVIEW: In Kirk Everist's third season as head coach, the 2004 Cal men's water polo team was 20-10 overall and finished sixth in the final national polls. A highlight for the Bears was upsetting eventual national champion UCLA in the third place match of the SoCal Invitational and capturing The Steve Heaston Trophy with a 6-5 victory over Stanford in the Big Splash.

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.