Sept. 30, 2012
SANTA BARBARA, CALIF. - Led by four goals from sophomore Aleksa Saponjic and two goals apiece from four other players, the Cal men's water polo team (9-5) rebounded with a 12-9 victory over Pepperdine to place seventh at the SoCal Invitational Sunday (Sept. 30) at Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta. Earlier Sunday, the Golden Bears had lost their fourth one-goal match of the season with a 10-9 overtime loss to Pacific.
Besides the scoring of Saponjic - and the two goals from senior Mason Cox, juniors Giacomo Cupido and Collin Smith, and true freshman Mitchell Hamilton - junior goalie Michael Boggan had 11 saves. Senior Marin Balarin led Cal with three steals in the final match.
In the overtime loss to Pacific, Cal was led by three goals from Smith, who paces the Bears with 39 goals in 14 matches this season, and two goals from senior captain Balarin. Boggan finished with 12 saves against the Tigers, but Pacific's Alex Orbert scored the winning goal in the second three-minute overtime period.
In Saturday's action at the SoCal Invite, Cal had defeated Air Force, 22-4; but fell to UC Irvine, 13-11.
The Bears will next return home for an important Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match against No. 2-ranked UCLA on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 12:30 p.m. at Spieker Aquatics Complex. The match against the Bruins will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks. Kirk Everist's squad is 1-1 in televised matches this season - defeating Princeton, 16-4 Sept. 7 at Princeton; and falling to No. 1-ranked USC, 7-6, Sept. 23 in Los Angeles - on ESPNU.
Against UCLA, Cal will be looking to avenge an earlier 11-10 overtime loss to the Bruins, Sept. 16 in the semifinals of the NorCal Invitational. UCLA also knocked the Bears out of the 2011 NCAA tournament with a 7-6 overtime victory in the semifinals of last year's MPSF tournament.
Cal 5 2 4 1 - 12
Pepp 1 3 5 0 - 9
Cal Saves: Michael Boggan 11
Pepperdine Goals: Nick Cooper (2), Mike Tragitt (2), Matthew DeTrane (5)
Pepperdine Saves: Bence Valics 8
Pacific 2 3 1 1 1 2 - 10
Cal 2 2 2 1 1 1 - 9
Pacific Goals: Jacob Himmel, Andres Oneto, Sean Grady, Balzas Erdelyi (2), Alex Obert (5)
Pacific Saves: Alex Malkis 18
Cal Saves: Michael Boggan 12