No. 2 Cal Men's Water Polo Travels to No. 12 Pacific
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  09/07/2005

Sept. 7, 2005


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Sept. 10 at Pacific, Chris Kjeldsen Pool, Stockton, Calif. 12 p.m.

BEAR BITES: The No. 2-ranked California men's water polo team (3-0), led by 2004 first-team All-American John Mann, travels to Stockton Saturday for a noon non-league match against the No. 12-ranked Pacific Tigers (3-1). Cal should be a strong contender for the 2005 NCAA title, featuring returning junior All-America standouts Mann (team-leading 60 goals in 2004), Andrija Vasiljevic (honorable mention All-American, 39 goals) and Marty Matthies (honorable mention All-American, 14 goals). The Bears also have senior goalie Nate Bennett, who recorded 216 saves in 29 matches last season, and junior attacker Brian Bacharach, the team's second leading scorer in 2004 with 48 goals. Mann, Matthies, Bennett, sophomore Michael Sharf and freshman Shea Buckner are all members of the USA Senior National Team Training Roster for the 2008 Olympic Games.

CAL AT THE NAVY OPEN: Cal finished its 2005 season-opening tournament 3-0, defeating host Navy, 9-3, Sept. 4 at LeJeune Hall Pool on the Navel Academy campus. The Bears also topped Bucknell, 11-2, and No. 12-ranked St. Francis, 11-8, on Sept. 3, and defeated Water Polo Planet Euro, 17-6, in an exhibition match. Against Navy, Bennett finished with an impressive 12 saves to go along with two steals and an assist. Mann was Cal's leading scorer versus the Midshipmen with four goals, while junior captain Bacharach added two goals, and juniors Brian Kinsel and Vasiljevic, and true freshman Buckner, also tallied scores. Another top effort for Cal against Navy was Sharf's team-leading three assists. Mann finished the three tournament matches with a team-high 10 goals, Bacharach added four goals and Buckner, sophomore Mike Hayes and Vasiljevic had three goals apiece. Cal outscored its opponents 31 to 13 during the weekend, and Bennett finished with 14 saves and a 2.91 goal against average.

NOTING PACIFIC: No. 12-ranked Pacific (3-1), coached by Mike Maroney, defeated George Washington (14-7), Salem International (9-6) and St. Francis (10-8) at the Navy Open, but fell to host Navy (7-5). The Tigers are led by sophomore All-American Dragan Bakic, who tallied 31 goals in 2004. Cal defeated Pacific twice last season - 12-7 Nov. 4 at Spieker Aquatics Complex, and 11-10 Nov. 14 in Stockton. Cal associate head coach Boyd Lachance was a two-year starter at Pacific from 1992-93.

GOLDEN BEARS TO WATCH: John Mann, center, JR - 2004 first-team All-American; 2004 first-team All-MPSF; 112 career goals. Andrija Vasiljevic, attacker, JR - 2004 Honorable mention All-American; MPSF third team; 78 career goals. Marty Matthies, center back, JR - 2004 Honorable mention All-American; considered the team's top all-around player and defender. Nate Bennett, goalie, SR - 2005 team captain; 2004 MPSF honorable mention; 325 career saves. Brian Kinsel, center, JR - 2004 MPSF honorable mention; 71 career goals. Brian Bacharach, attacker, JR - 2005 team captain; 70 career goals. Tom Kurth, center, SR - 2005 team captain; 11 career goals. . HEAD COACH Kirk Everist: Fourth year at Cal, 63-25 (.716). A 2004 inductee into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame and a member of the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame, Everist was named 2002 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Coach of the Year after guiding his alma mater to the MPSF title and first NCAA Final Four appearance since 1995 in his first year as head coach. A 1990 Cal graduate, Everist led the Bears to consecutive national championships in 1987 and 1988, earning All-American status three straight seasons (1986-88) and NCAA Player of the Year honors in 1988. He went on to play for the USA National Team for nine years (1988-96) and competed in the 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. Everist's staff includes associate head coach Boyd Lachance, who is in his fourth season, and Sean Nolan, a 2000 USA Olympic goalie who is in his first season. Nolan was a two-time All-American at Cal, helping the Bears to the 1991 and 1992 NCAA titles.

KEY RECRUITS: Shea Buckner, center defender, FR - Villa Park HS (Villa Park, CA). Buckner was a first-team high school All-American, the 2004 CIF Division II Player of the Year and is a member of USA Senior National Team. Thomas Pearson, center, FR - Corona del Mar HS (Corona del Mar, CA). Pearson was a second-team high school All-American and is a member of the USA Junior National Team that will compete in the 2005 World Championships in Argentina.

IMPORTANT HOME DATES: Oct. 1 vs. Stanford. The Golden Bears host Bay Area rival Stanford in opening MPSF match of 2005. Oct. 15-16 Northern California Open. Cal hosts the 2005 NorCal Open, featuring the nation's top water polo teams.

DID YOU KNOW? Since its charter season in 1918, Cal has won a NCAA record 11 national titles, including twice winning three NCAA titles in-a-row (1973-75, 1990-92). The Bears have had 11 different players earn National Player of the Year honors, including current head coach Kirk Everist in 1988. From 1990-92, Cal amassed a record of 86-2 for a .977 winning percentage.