Oct. 15, 2011
BERKELEY - In a spirited match in front of a packed house at Spieker Aquatics Complex, the No. 2-ranked Cal men's water polo team fell to No. 4 USC, 9-8 in sudden death overtime, Saturday afternoon (Oct. 15) in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation contest in Berkeley. The Trojans' (12-2, 3-0) Jeremy Davie scored on a quick inside move off an assist from Nikola Vavic with six seconds left in the three minute sudden death overtime period.
The two teams had been knotted, 7-7, after regulation when Cal (14-3, 2-1) came back from a 7-5 deficit on a goal by sophomore Hunter Gettelfinger with 2:17 left in the third period, and a score by junior Ayal Keren on a strong inside move with 6:53 remaining in the fourth period.
The Bears scored first in the extra period to take 8-7 advantage when Keren had an impressive field block that lead to a counterattack, where sophomore Giacomo Cupido drove nearly the length of the pool before dishing off to senior Cory Nasoff for the score to the bottom left corner of the goal.
However, USC came back in the second three-minute overtime period as Davie scored with 2:30 left on a nifty scoop shot from inside two meters past Cal goalie Justin Parsons.
Saturday's match between the Trojans and the Bears was a rematch of the 2010 NCAA title game that USC won 12-10 in overtime.
The game between two of the nation's best collegiate water polo teams was tight back-and-forth affair. Cal took a 3-2 advantage after the first period on goals by senior Ivan Rackov, sophomore Collin Smith and freshman Aleksa Saponjic. Aleksa Saponjic then opened the second quarter scoring with a goal at 5:53 to give the Bears a 4-2 lead, but the Trojans were able to outscore Cal, 2-1, the rest of the half for a 4-4 tie at intermission.
USC's Vavic and the Bears' Giacomo Cupido traded goals to begin the third period before Trojans went on a 2-0 run behind scores from Davie and Tobias Pruess for the 7-5 advantage that was eventually erased by Gettelfinger and Keren to send the match into overtime.
Davie led USC with three goals and Aleksa Sapojic paced Cal with two goals. Both Parsons and Trojan goalie Joel Dennerley had 15 saves apiece.
"It was a typical Cal-USC game," said Cal coach Kirk Everist. "These are two evenly matched teams battling until the end. Our team played hard and well in many areas. We just need to keep on getting better."
The Bears will next host Pepperdine in an MPSF match on Friday, Oct. 21 at 6 p.m. at Spieker Aquatics Complex. Spieker Aquatics Complex is again the host site for NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship, Dec. 3-4, 2011 in Berkeley.
USC 2 2 3 0 0 1 1 - 9
CAL 3 1 2 1 1 0 0 - 8
Goals USC: Davie 3, Preuss 2, Rosenthal, Kurzeka, Monroe, Vavic
USC: Dennerley 15
CAL: Justin Parsons 15