Sept. 3, 2011
BERKELEY - Paced by five goals from senior Ivan Rackov and four goals from senior Luka Saponjic, the No. 2-ranked Cal men's water polo team won its season opener, 16-5, over visiting UC Davis in the opening match of the Cal Bear Invitational Saturday (Sept. 3) at Spieker Aquatics Complex.
Saponjic and Rackov tallied the first two goals of the season for the Golden Bears before the Aggies Trevor Allen scored with 5:43 left in the first period to get UC Davis within 2-1. But sophomore Giacomo Cupido quickly responded with another goal for Cal at 5:14 in the period and Saponjic and Rackov added additional goals to give the Bears a 5-1 advantage. Finally UC Davis' top scorer Aaron Salit stopped Cal's run with an inside goal with 3:07 in the opening quarter before Saponjic scored his third goal in the first eight minutes with 24 seconds left for a 6-2 Bear lead.
Cal outscored the Aggies, 10-3, over the next three quarters for the final 16-5 margin. Besides the early goals from Saponjic, Rackov and Cupido, five other Cal players scored single goals - senior Cory Nasoff, senior Zach Greenwood, junior college transfer (Diablo Valley College) Ayal Keren, senior Charlie Steffens, redshirt freshman Blake Kelly and sophomore Hunter Gettelfinger. Senior goalie Wil Toppen finished with eight saves.
Besides being one of the Bears' top goal scorers, Rackov paced Cal with three steals, three assists and three ejections earned. Salit was the top scorer for UC Davis with four of his team's five goals, while senior goalie Kevin Peat had eight saves.
The Bears will next host No. 14 Santa Clara Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Spieker Aquatics Complex. The other matches of the Cal Bear Invitational include Pacific-Santa Clara at 10:30 a.m. and Pacific-UC Davis at 3 p.m.
Cal's 2011 squad is ranked No. 2 in the Collegiate Water Polo Association preseason poll and is tied with USC for first place in the MPSF Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Bears will be attempting to win their NCAA-record 14th national men's water polo title in 2011.
Cal 16, UC Davis 5
UC Davis 2 1 1 1 - 5
Cal 6 2 4 4 - 16
UC Davis Goals: Aaron Salit 4, Trevor Allen
UC Davis Goalie Saves: Kevin Peat 8