No. 2 Cal Men's Water Polo Hosts No. 9 Pacific and No. 5 Pepperdine
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  10/26/2005

Oct. 26, 2005


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Thu., Oct. 27	Pacific, Spieker Aquatics Complex 7 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 29	Pepperdine, Spieker Aquatics Complex 12 p.m.

BEAR BITES: This week, No. 2-ranked Cal (15-3, 1-1) hosts No. 9 Pacific (10-8, 0-2) in a 7 p.m. MPSF night match Thursday, and No. 5-ranked Pepperdine (14-5, 1-1) in a noon non-conference contest Saturday, at Spieker Aquatics Complex. Cal was impressive last week, defeating No. 7 UC Irvine, 9-2, behind senior goalie Nate Bennett's career-high 20 saves and a team-leading three goals from junior center Brian Kinsel. The Bears then upended No. 10 UC Davis, 15-7, behind five goals from junior All-American John Mann, and three goals from junior attacker Andrija Vasiljevic. Cal's three loses this season have been to two teams - twice to No. 1-ranked USC, and once to defending national champion UCLA. The Bears' two losses to the Trojans were one goal affairs - 8-7, in the semifinals of the SoCal Open Sept. 18 and, 9-8, in the NorCal final Oct. 16. Cal lost to UCLA, 7-4, at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center Oct. 8, but defeated the Bruins, 8-7 in overtime in the third place match of the SoCal Open Sept. 18, and 7-6 in the semifinals of the NorCal Open.

BENNETT NAMED MPSF PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Bennett was selected the Oct. 25 MPSF Mikasa Player of the Week. In Cal's 9-2 MPSF victory over UC Irvine, he recorded 20 saves as the Bears shutout the Anteaters for nearly the first 21 minutes of the match - UCI finally scored with 34 seconds left in the third period. Bennett finished with 25 saves for the weekend, gathering five more saves in three periods in Cal's win at UC Davis. He now has 123 saves on the season, 434 career saves, and is second in the MPSF with a 5.28 goal against average. Bennett's selection is the Bears' second MPSF Player of the Week accolade this season as Mann was the Oct. 4 Co-MPSF Player of the Week. Bennett was the Nov. 21, 2004 MPSF Player of the Week as well, recording 12 saves in Cal's 6-5 victory over Stanford in the 2004 Big Splash.

NOTING PACIFIC AND PEPPERDINE: No. 9-ranked Pacific is 10-8 (0-2 in MPSF), coached by Mike Maroney (third year) and is led by junior Matt Turnbull with 24 goals. Most recently, the Tigers placed ninth at the NorCal Open; defeating UC Davis, 10-8 in overtime, in the ninth-place match; and lost to UC Irvine, 14-10, in Stockton Oct. 23. Last season, Cal defeated Pacific twice, 12-7, Nov. 4 at Cal, and 11-10 Nov. 14 at Pacific. No. 5-ranked Pepperdine is 14-5 (1-1 in MPSF), coached by Terry Schroeder (20th year) and is led by senior Jesse Smith with 35 goals. Most recently, the Waves placed fifth at the NorCal Open; defeating UC San Diego, 11-7, in the fifth-place match; and again topped UC San Diego, 11-9, Oct. 20 in Malibu. Last season, Cal split with Pepperdine, winning 10-8, Oct. 8 at Cal; and losing, 4-3, Nov. 27 in the second round of the MPSF Tournament.

GOLDEN BEARS TO WATCH: John Mann, center, JR - Oct. 4 MPSF Mikasa Co-Player of the Week; 2004 first-team All-American; 2004 first-team All-MPSF; team-leading 38 goals in 2005; third in MPSF with 2.24 goals per game; 120 career goals; member of USA Senior National Team. Andrija Vasiljevic, attacker, JR - 2004 Honorable mention All-American; MPSF third team; 19 goals in 2005; 94 career goals. Marty Matthies, center back, JR - 2004 Honorable mention All-American; considered the team's top all-around player and defender; eight goals in 2005; member of USA Senior National Team. Nate Bennett, goalie, SR - Oct. 25 MPSF Mikasa Player of the Week; 2005 team captain; 2004 MPSF honorable mention; 123 saves in 2005; second in MPSF with 5.28 goal against average; 434 career saves; member of USA Senior National Team. Brian Kinsel, center, JR - 2004 MPSF honorable mention; 14 goals in 2005; 83 career goals. Brian Bacharach, attacker, JR - 2005 team captain; 23 goals in 2005; 89 career goals. Michael Sharf, attacker, SO - 23 goals in 2005, 45 career goals; member of USA Senior National Team. Tom Kurth, center, SR - 2005 team captain; 19 career goals. Shea Buckner, center back, FR - Nine goals in 2005; member of USA Senior National Team.

HEAD COACH Kirk Everist: Fourth year at Cal, 75-31 (.708). 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.