Nov. 4, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, CALIF. - Led by three goals apiece from senior Michael Sharf and sophomore Spencer Warden, the No. 1-ranked Cal men's water polo team defeated No. 7 UC Santa Barbara, 10-8, Sunday afternoon at the Campus Pool in Santa Barbara. The Golden Bears, who took advantage of a second period in which they outscored UCSB, 4-1, improved to 22-2 overall and 6-0 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. The Gauchos, led by sophomore Zsombor Vincze's three goals, fell to 17-10 and 2-3 in the MPSF.
"It was a tough weekend. Our conference is so strong and getting out with two wins is great," said Cal coach Kirk Everist, who saw his Bears defeat UC Irvine, 11-10 in overtime, Friday night in Berkeley. "Santa Barbara is one of the toughest places to play in the country and they played with a lot of emotion, but we were able to match their intensity."
Vincze opened the day's scoring with a cross-cage shot with 6:30 on the clock to put the Gauchos ahead, 1-0. During the following possession, Cal answered back with a point from Frank Reynolds. The Bears were able to take their first lead of the match with 4:50 on the clock with the first of three goals from Warden during a six-on-five play. The Gauchos tied the game at 2-2 when Jesse Tootell scored out of two-meters, but a breakaway goal from Sharf at 1:34 gave Cal a narrow 3-2 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Bears' Zac Monsees stretched Cal's lead to two goals with a goal scored 1:43 into the second quarter. Matt Dale responded with a shot scored as the two teams became even on a six-on-five to cut the lead to 4-3. Unfortunately for the Gauchos, Cal finished the first half with a 3-0 run, which included Warden and Sharf's second goals of the game.
The Gauchos scored the first goal of the second half as Milos Golic fired one in with 6:07 in the third period. Sharf responded with his third goal of the game a little over a minute later during a man-up situation. A goal from junior Trent Calder out of center gave the Bears their biggest lead of the match at 9-4. Back-to-back goals from Coulson Lantz and Vincze put the Gauchos back within three points at 9-6 heading into the final quarter.
Miles Price won the fourth quarter opening sprint and Vincze scored his third goal during a six-on-five possession to cut the Cal lead to 9-7 just 42 seconds into the quarter. Warden responded with a Cal man-up goal with 6:51 left to play. UCSB held the Bears scoreless the rest of the match and Price cut the lead to 10-8 with a six-on-five goal. Following Price¹s goal, UCSB had two man-up opportunities that it failed to convert, and as the clock wound down, Cal held on for the 10-8 victory.
Rick Wright tallied six saves in the cage for the Gauchos, and Cal¹s Mark Sheredy had seven saves. Besides his three goals, Warden finished with four steals and three assists. Monsees also had three assists for the Bears, and Sharf forced three UCSB ejections.
Cal, the defending national champions, will next host USC in a repeat of the 2006 NCAA title match, Saturday, Nov. 10 at 1:30 p.m. at Spieker Aquatics Complex.
Cal 10, UC Santa Barbara 8 Cal 3 4 2 1 10 UCSB 2 1 3 2 8
UCSB Goals: Zsombor Vincze 3, Jesse Tootell, Coulson Lantz, Matt Dale, Miles Price, Milos Golic.
Cal Goalie Saves: Mark Sheredy 7; UCSB Goalie Saves: Rick Wright 6