Cal MWP Earns Six All-America Accolades
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  02/22/2012

Feb. 22, 2012

BERKELEY - The 2011 California Men's Water Polo Team (22-4, 7-1 in the MPSF) had six players named to the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches All-America team, including first-team selection Ivan Rackov, it was announced Wednesday (Feb. 22) by the national organization.

Senior attacker Rackov - the 2010 National Player of the Year and again a finalist for the Peter J. Cutino Award after capturing the honor in 2010 - finished the 2011 campaign with 70 goals in 25 matches, leading the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation with 2.80 goals per game. He also paced the Golden Bears with 64 assists and 58 steals. Rackov finished his Cal career with 235 goals, second on the school's all-time scoring list.

Junior goalie Justin Parsons and senior attacker Cory Nasoff were named second-team All-Americans, while senior attacker Luka Saponjic, sophomore attacker Collin Smith and freshman attacker Aleksa Saponjic were tabbed honorable mention All-Americans.

Parsons concluded the 2011 season with 206 saves in 23 matches and now owns 473 career saves. Nasoff had 18 goals in 23 matches with 22 steals, 22 ejections earned, 21 assists and nine field blocks in 2011. He wrapped up his career with 90 goals.

Luka Saponjic was second on the Bears' scoring list this past season with 41 goals and added 38 assists, 20 steals, 10 ejections earned and 10 field blocks. He concluded his career with 138 goals. Luka's younger brother, Aleksa, was third on the team in scoring with 30 goals in 22 matches and tallied 22 assists and 18 steals. He most recently helped his native Serbia capture the 2012 European Championship.

Smith played in 22 matches during the 2011 campaign and scored 26 goals with 20 steals, 28 assists, nine ejections earned and four field blocks. During the year he nailed match-winning goals in Cal's MPSF victories at UC Santa Barbara and versus Pacific.

"Congratulations to all six of our 2011 All-Americans," said Cal coach Kirk Everist. "They all had excellent seasons and this honor is well deserved."

The Bears' four losses this past season were all by one goal, including a 7-6 overtime loss to UCLA in the Nov. 26 MPSF Tournament semifinal in Los Angeles. Cal also fell 6-5 to UCLA Sept. 18 in the semifinals of the NorCal Tournament in Stockton, 10-9 in overtime to Stanford Oct. 2, and 9-8 in sudden death overtime to USC Oct. 15 at Cal's Spieker Aquatics Complex.