Men's Water Polo Opens 2012 Campaign
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  08/28/2012

Aug. 28, 2012

8-28-12 Cal Men's Water Polo Release Get Acrobat Reader

BERKELEY - Sat, Sept. 1 Alumni, Spieker Aquatics Complex Berkeley, Calif. 9:30 a.m.

Sun, Sept. 2 Santa Clara/UC Davis/Pacific, Spieker Aquatics Complex Berkeley, Calif. 10:15 a.m./1 p.m./3:30 p.m.

2012 Golden Bear Invitational Tournament Page

Bear Bites:
The 2012 California squad, featuring 2012 Olympian Aleksa Saponjic and ranked third in both the CWPA and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Preseason Polls, hosts an Alumni squad at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday (Sept. 1) at Spieker Aquatics Complex in a season-opening Golden Bear Invitational scrimmage (matches do not count towards season record). On Sunday, (Sept. 2) Cal scrimmages Santa Clara at 10:15 a.m., UC Davis at 1 p.m. and Pacific at 3:30 p.m. (other matches Sunday include Long Beach City College-UC Davis at 9 a.m., LBCC-Pacific at 11:30 a.m. and Pacific-Santa Clara at 3 p.m.). Long Beach City College is coached by former Cal All-American and Olympian Chris Oeding (1989-92), the 1992 Co-National Player of the Year. Along with Saponjic, who won a bronze medal as a member of the Serbian National Team in London and was a 2011 honorable mention All-American, the Bears return two other All-Americans from the 2011 squad that finished 22-4 overall and 7-1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. Senior team captain Justin Parsons was a second-team All-American and has been the Bears' starting goalie the past two years, finishing 2011 with 206 saves in 23 matches, and owns 473 career saves. Junior attacker Collin Smith was a 2011 honorable mention All-American, scoring 26 goals with 20 steals and 28 assists, nailing match-winning goals in Cal's MPSF victories against UC Santa Barbara and Pacific.

Saponjic's Olympic Experience:
Cal sophomore attacker Aleksa Saponjic helped his native Serbia to a 12-11 victory over Montenegro in the bronze medal match of the London Olympics on Aug. 12. Saponjic became the first Bear to win an Olympic medal in men's water polo since Kevin Robertson and assistant coach Steve Heaston were members of the USA team that won a silver medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Saponjic, who as a freshman was an honorable mention All-American for Kirk Everist's Bears, helped Serbia to a 6-1-1 record in London. In the bronze medal match, Saponjic, the second youngest player on the Serbian national team at 20, played more than eight minutes, recording a steal and winning the sprint to lead off the second and third quarters. For the entire Olympics, Saponjic notched a goal in Serbia's 21-7 win over host Great Britain back on July 31, and ended up winning seven sprints with four steals, two block shots and one assist.

Cal's 2012 Scenerio:
In 2012, the Bears will look to avenge last year's 7-6 overtime loss to UCLA in the MPSF semifinals that knocked them out of the NCAA Tournament...of Cal's four losses last season (22-4), all were by one goal, including a 9-8 in sudden death overtime to four-time defending NCAA champion USC at the last two years, the Bears have gone 15-1 in MPSF league play and were national runners-up in 2010...Cal has won more collegiate titles (13) than any other team in the nation, last upending USC for the 2006 (8-7) and 2007 (8-6) NCAA titles...For the first time this year, Cal will be televised during the regular season with two matches on ESPNU (Sept. 7 at Princeton, 6 p.m. ET; and Sept. 23 at USC, 1 p.m.) and two matches on the Pac-12 Networks (UCLA on Oct. 6, TBA; and Stanford, Oct. 20, TBA, at Spieker Aquatics Complex).

Noting LBCC, Santa Clara and Pacific:
Long Beach City College (27-4 in 2011) is coached by Cal alum Chris Oeding (12th year). Oeding was an Olympic teammate with Kirk Everist at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Santa Clara (18-18 in 2011) is coached by Keith Wilbur (11th year) and led by junior utility Theodore Nasser with 41 goals in 2011. Pacific (13-13, 2-6 in MPSF in 2011) is coached by James Graham (fifth year) and led by senior two-meter man Goran Tomasevic, who had 46 goals in 2011. Cal was 3-0 against both Santa Clara and Pacific during the 2011 season.

Head Coach Kirk Everist:
A 2004 inductee into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame, Kirk Everist is in his 11th year with a 227-63 mark (.783), leading the Bears to NCAA titles in 2006 and 2007, and MPSF crowns in 2002 and 2006. He was the 2006 NCAA Coach of the Year and 2002 MPSF Coach of the Year. A 1990 Cal graduate, Everist led the Bears to NCAA titles in 1987 and 1988, earning All-American status three straight seasons (1986-88) and NCAA Player of the Year honors in 1988. He played for the USA National Team for nine years (1988-96)and competed in the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games.


8 Marin Balarin:
Senior attacker and team captain had 19 goals in 25 matches last season with six assists, 11 steals, a field block and 28 ejections earned...was selected the recipient of the Peter J. Cutino Award as the team's most improved player and was 2011 ACWPC and MPSF All-Academic...scored goals against UC Irvine and Stanford in the 2011 MPSF Tournament...notched a team-high four goals Oct. 1 versus Santa Clara at the SoCal Tournament, had two goals in an Oct. 30 MPSF match versus UC Irvine and a goal versus Stanford in the Nov. 19 Big Splash...has 27 career goals.

3 Max Bergeson:
Left-handed sophomore attacker who redshirted during the 2011 season after contributing as a freshma in 2010... had 15 goals in 24 matches with 14 assists, 13 steals, six fi eld blocks and an ejection earned in 2010, including scoring two key goals against Loyola Marymount in the NCAA Tournament semifi nal...notched two goals in the Bears' 2010 MPSF league victory over then- No. 2-ranked UCLA Oct. 9 and three goals in an MPSF match at Pepperdine.

14 Giacomo Cupido:
Junior defender/utility played in 25 matches with 36 steals, 25 assists, 10 goals, eight fi eld blocks and five ejections earned last season...was 2011 ACWPC and MPSF All-Academic...had a goal against UCLA and two goals against Stanford in the 2011 MPSF Tournament...scored a goal against USC in the Oct. 15 MPSF match at Cal and a goal in a 9-8 MPSF win over Pacifi c Nov. 11 at Cal...has 19 career from Santa Margherita Ligure, Genova, Italy.

9 Hunter Gettelfinger:
Junior attacker played in 24 matches last season with 28 steals, 16 assists, eight ejections earned, a teamhigh 10 fi eld blocks and 12 goals...was 2011 ACWPC and MPSF All-Academic...scored goals in 2011 MPSF matches versus USC, Long Beach State, Pepperdine and UC Irvine...has 26 career goals.

13 Luka Ivanovic:
Sophomore attacker had seven goals in 25 matches with 15 steals, two assists and six fi eld blocks in 2011... was 2011 ACWPC All-Academic...scored two goals in an MPSF win at Long Beach State and a goal against UC Irvine in an Oct. 30 victory at from Podgorica, Montenegro.

2 Blake Kelly:
Sophomore defender/utility played in 25 matches last season with 20 steals, four assists, 11 goals, fi ve fi eld blocks and fi ve ejections earned...was 2011 ACWPC and MPSF All-Academic...had a goal against UC Irvine in the fi rst round of the 2011 MPSF Tournament...scored goals in MPSF victories Oct. 7 at UCLA and Oct. 21 versus Pepperdine at Cal.

1 Justin Parsons:
Senior goalie and team captain had 206 saves in 23 matches (705 minutes of action, 9.0 saves per match) last season, earning second-team All-America honors...was also second-team All-MPSF and was selected 2011 Team MVP...notched 22 saves during the 2011 MPSF Tournament...had a top match Nov. 19 at Stanford in the Big Splash, collecting 15 saves with four steals... was named the Oct. 10 MPSF Player of the Week, recording 11 saves in an 8-5 win at No. 3 UCLA, 10 saves in a 14-6 win at Long Beach State and had fi ve saves in two quarters in an 18-8 victory at No. 9 UC San Diego...was a 2010 third-team ACWPC All-American and second-team All-MPSF...has 473 saves in 57 career matches.

11 Aleksa Saponjic:
Sophomore attacker was third on the 2011 squad with 30 goals in 22 matches with 22 assists, 18 steals, nine ejections earned and six fi eld blocks...earned 2011 honorable mention All-America honors as a freshman and helped his native Serbia to a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics...was also a 2011 ACWPC All-Academic selection...notched two goals against Stanford in the 2011 MPSF Tournament...led the Bears with three goals in the Nov. 19 Big Splash at Stanford...scored in all eight MPSF matches with a team-high three goals at Long Beach State and two goals apiece versus UC Irvine and USC...from Belgrade, Serbia and a member of Serbian National Team that won the gold medal at the World University Games in the summer of 2011 along with older brother Luka, a standout at Cal from 2008-11.

5 Perry Short:
A left-handed junior attacker from Cottesloe, Australia...played in 21 matches with nine goals, eight steals, 13 assists and two ejections earned last season... was a 2011 MPSF All-Academic selection...scored a goal in the Nov. 19 Big Splash at Stanford and tallied two goals in the Nov. 12 match at UC Davis...has 20 career goals.

7 Collin Smith:
Sophomore attacker played in 22 matches with 26 goals, 20 steals, 28 assists, nine ejections earned and four fi eld blocks, earning 2011 honorable mention All-America honors...scored three goals during the 2011 MPSF Tournament...nailed the match-winning goals in the Bears' MPSF victories at UC Santa Barbara and versus Pacifi c...also notched a team-high three goals versus Stanford during the Nov. 19 Big Splash...has 42 career goals.