Dec. 2, 2007
STANFORD, CALIF. - Paced by a strong defense and two goals apiece from seniors Adam Haley and Zac Monsees, No. 2-ranked California men's water polo team (28-4) successfully defended its national title as the Golden Bears upended No. 1-ranked USC, 8-6, in the NCAA Championship match Sunday at Avery Aquatics Center on the Stanford campus. With the win, Cal captures its NCAA-record 13th national title and topped the Trojans for the second year in a row in the championship match.
"Our guys played great defensively," said Bear coach Kirk Everist, who led Cal to back-to-back NCAA titles in men's water polo for the first time since the 1990 through 1992 seasons. "We played great team defense and found ways to score goals. We had some great individual efforts. Adam Haley's goal in the second period was definitely inspiring. To win championships, you have to have someone else besides the regular scorers step-up. We had a lot of great efforts from a lot of different people to win this title. And, obviously the last point of defense is the goalie, and Mark Sheredy was a wall."
Sophomore Thomas Pearson got the Bears on the scoreboard first when he scored from two-meters with 5:06 in the first period. USC countered with a 6-on-5 goal from Jovan Vranes with 4:45 in the first quarter the end the opening period, 1-1.
Both teams tallied three goals in second period. After J.W. Krumpholz gave the Trojans a 2-1 lead with a two-meter goal, Cal tallied the next three points on shots by sophomore Spencer Warden, Haley and Monsees. Haley's goal was especially impressive as he made a steal on the USC end and swam the length of the pool to score. The Trojans ended up tying the contest, 4-4, at the half on goals by Drew Vyn and Tommy Corcoran.
Haley scored the lone goal in the third period when he took advantage of a 6-on-5 situation, forced by freshman Zachary White, and scored off freshman Brian Dudley's assist. Dudley ended up scoring a goal of his own on an assist from Monsees with 6:21 in the fourth period to give the Bears a 6-4 lead. Gabor Sarusi's goal with 5:47 left in the match got USC within, 6-5, but a slick inside move by junior Trent Calder with 2:36 left, and a deflected shot that found the net for Monsees with 1:18 to go, put Cal in controlled of the championship. Krumpholz scored his second goal for the Trojans with 11 seconds remaining for the final 8-6 Bear win.
Senior Michael Sharf, who led Cal in scoring this season with a school-record 98 single-season goals, was named the 2007 NCAA Tournament MVP. Sheredy, who finished Sunday's title match with 11 saves (including blocking Gabor Sarusi's five-meter penalty shot attempt in the third period), Monsees and senior Jeff Tyrrell were named to the NCAA Tournament first team, while sophomore Spencer Warden was selected NCAA Tournament second team.
CALIFORNIA 8, USC 6
Cal 1 3 1 3 - 8 USC 1 3 0 2 - 6
USC Goals: J.W. Krumpholz 2, Johan Vranes, Gabor Sarusi, Tommy Corcoran, Drew Vyn.
California Saves: Mark Sheredy 11 USC Saves: Adam Shilling 5
Scoring Summary: First Quarter: 5:06 - Cal - Thomas Pearson 4:45 - USC - Jovan Vranes
Third Quarter: 3:30 - Cal - Adam Haley
2007 NCAA All-Tournament Team First Team Michael Sharf - Cal (MVP) Tommy Corcoran - USC Matt Sagehorn - USC J.W. Krumpholz - USC Jeff Tyrrell - Cal Zac Monsees - Cal Mark Sheredy - Cal (Goalie)