Nov. 10, 2007
BERKELEY, CALIF. - In a battle between the top two teams in collegiate water polo and a repeat of the 2006 NCAA title match, the No. 1-ranked Cal men's water polo team defeated No. 2-ranked USC, 10-9, Saturday afternoon at Spieker Aquatics Complex. With the win, the Golden Bears improved to 23-2 overall and 7-0 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. The Trojans fall to 13-2 overall and 4-2 in league play.
Senior All-American Michael Sharf scored two of his team-high three goals in the fourth period as Cal outscored USC, 3-2, in the final eight minutes to come away with the 10-9 win. The Bears had defeated the Trojans, 7-6, in last year's NCAA championship, but earlier this year USC had topped Cal, 9-8, in the Sept. 16 final of the NorCal Tournament in Berkeley.
With the score tied, 7-7, entering the fourth period, Sharf broke the deadlock and gave Cal its first lead of the match with a counterattack goal at 5:01. A little more than a minute later (4:15), senior Jeff Tyrrell gave the Bears a two-goal advantage, 9-7, bouncing the ball off the water past USC goalie Adam Shilling. The Trojans' Justin Rappel scored his third goal of the contest at 2:18 left to bring USC within one, 9-8. Sharf countered with a goal off a Tyrrell assist with 1:38 in the match for a 10-8 lead. Finally, the Trojans' Matt Sagehorn scored on a 6-5 man-up advantage at 1:05 to make the score, 10-9, but after a trade of possession, Sagehorn turned the ball over on an errant pass allowing Cal to run the clock out for the victory.
Along with Sharf's three goals, sophomore Thomas Pearson and senior Zac Monsees added two goals apiece, and senior goalie Mark Sheredy recorded 10 saves. Senior Vladislav Andreyev and junior Frank Reynolds also notched goals for the Bears, while Monsees had a team-high three assists, Pearson forced three ejections and senior Adam Haley finished with a team-best four steals.
"This was a great match," said Cal coach Kirk Everist. "This is why kids come to Cal - to get a chance to compete in these types of matches. It doesn't get any better than this. The guys played great."
Cal will next host UC Santa Cruz in a non-league match on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 12 p.m. at Spieker Aquatics Complex. The Bears will then travel to Stanford for the final conference match of the season, Friday, Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Avery Aquatic Center on the Stanford campus. Cal hosts the MPSF Tournament, Friday-Sunday, Nov. 23-25 at Spieker Aquatics Complex.
CALIFORNIA 10, USC 9
No. 2 USC 2 3 2 2 - 9 No. 1 Cal 2 2 3 3 - 10
USC Goals: Justin Rappel 3, Tommy Corcoran 2, Matt Sagehorn 2, Shea Buckner, J.W. Krumpholz
USC Saves: Adam Shilling 7 California Saves: Mark Sheredy 10