Oct. 2, 2012
Sat., Oct. 6 UCLA, Spieker Aquatics Complex, Berkeley, Calif. 12:30 p.m.
In a match between two storied water polo programs, No. 7 Cal (9-5, 0-1) hosts No. 3 UCLA (15-2, 0-0) Saturday (Oct. 6) in a MPSF contest shown live at 12:30 p.m. on the Pac-12 Networks (play-by-play Roxy Bernstein, color analyst Adam Krikorian, head coach of the gold medal-winning USA women's water polo team in London). The two schools have won a combined 21 NCAA titles (Cal 13, UCLA 8). The Golden Bears, featuring 2012 Olympian Aleksa Saponjic and leading scorer Collin Smith (39 goals), will be looking to avenge an earlier 11-10 overtime loss to the Bruins Sept. 16 at the NorCal Invitational. Cal will also be looking to avenge last year's 7-6 overtime loss to UCLA in the MPSF semifinals that knocked the Bears out of the 2011 NCAA Tourney hosted at Cal. Despite the Bears' 9-5 record in 2012, they have outscored opponents, 193-93, and will be playing their first home match of the season Saturday. On Sept. 10, junior attacker Smith earned MPSF POW honors after 19 goals with eight assists and seven steals in Cal's five victories at the Princeton Invite. Smith joins Saponjic as returning All-Americans from the 2011 squad that finished 22-4 overall and 7-1 in the MPSF. Saponjic was honorable mention All-America as a freshman with 30 goals, 22 assists and 18 steals. Smith was honorable mention All-America as a sophomore with 26 goals, 20 steals and 28 assists, including match-winning goals in MPSF wins over UC Santa Barbara and Pacific.
At The SoCal Invite:
Despite going 2-2 at the SoCal Invite and placing seventh, Smith and Saponjic had 10 and nine goals, respectively, while senior captain Marin Balarin had a team-high 10 ejections earned and eight steals, and junior Hunter Gettelfinger had a team-high seven assists.
Cal's 2012 Scenario:
Of Cal's nine losses in the last two years, eight have been by one goal, including a 9-8 sudden death overtime loss to four-time defending NCAA champion USC at Cal in 2011, and a 7-6 loss to the Trojans Sept. 23 in Los Angeles...in the last two years, the Bears have gone 15-2 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...the Bears will be televised four times this season (Sept. 7 at Princeton and Sept. 23 at USC on ESPNU; and Oct. 6 versus UCLA,12:30 p.m., and Oct. 20 versus Stanford, Oct. 20, TBA, at Spieker Aquatics).
Saponjic's Olympic Experience:
Aleksa Saponjic helped 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 Olympics. In the bronze medal match, Saponjic, the second youngest player for Serbia at 20, had a steal and won the sprint in the second and third quarters. He finished the Olympics with a goal in a 21-7 win over Great Britain, and won seven sprints during the tournament with four steals, two block shots and one assist.
Noting UCLA Versus Cal:
UCLA (15-2, 0-0), 2011 national runners-up, are coached by Adam Wright (fourth year) and led by senior Josh Samuels with 36 goals (2.57 gpg). The Bruins placed third at the SoCal Invite, defeating UC Irvine, 14-8, for third place after falling to UC Santa Barbara, 11-10, in the semifinals. In 2011, Cal was 1-2 versus UCLA - falling 6-5 at the NorCal Invite, winning 8-5 in an MPSF match in Los Angeles, and losing 7-6 in overtime during the 2011 MPSF Tournament. In national championship matches between the two schools, the Bears and the Bruins have each won two, with UCLA winning in 1969 (6-2) and 1995 (10-8), and Cal winning in 1988 (14-11) and 1991 (7-6).
Head Coach Kirk Everist:
A 2004 inductee into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame, Kirk Everist is in his 11th year with a 236-68 mark (.776), 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.
INDIVIDUAL CAL PLAYER NOTES:
12 Thomas Agramonte:
Freshman attacker who redshirted during the 2012 season...has 14 goals in 14 matches with 16 assists, 13 steals, four ejections earned and two field blocks...notched four goals and had five assists last weekend at the SoCal Invite...scored three goals at the NorCal Invitational...had seven goals at Princeton Invite with four assists, three steals and an ejection earned...led the Bears with four goals Sept. 8 versus Harvard.
8 Marin Balarin:
Senior attacker and team captain is second on the team with 23 goals in 14 matches (1.64 gpg) with a team-high 32 ejections earned, along with 15 assists, 14 steals and two field blocks...had 10 ejections earned, eight steals with four goals last weekend at the SoCal Invite...had five goals at the NorCal Invitational...notched a team-high four goals Sept. 8 against Bucknell...scored 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 goal versus Stanford in the Nov. 19 Big Splash...has 50 career goals.
1 Michael Boggan:
Junior goalie has 97 saves in 13 matches (340 minutes of action)...had 44 saves in four matches at the SoCal Invite, including a career-high 12 saves versus Pacific...gathered 39 saves at the NorCal Invite, including 11 saves in the semifinal match versus UCLA...has 108 career saves.
4 Mason Cox:
Senior attacker has 11 goals in 14 matches with 18 assists (second on team), 10 steals, six field blocks and an ejection earned...had four goals at the NorCal Invitational and five goals in five matches at the Princeton Invitational...also tallied a team-high eight assists at Princeton Sept. 7...has 27 career goals.
14 Giacomo Cupido:
Junior defender/utility has six goals in 12 matches with 13 assists, 12 steals, three field blocks and two ejections earned...had six goals last weekend at the SoCal Invite with five assists and four steals...last season played in 25 matches with 36 steals, 25 assists, 10 goals, eight field blocks and five ejections earned...was 2011 ACWPC and MPSF All-Academic...had a goal against UCLA and two goals against Stanford in the 2011 MPSF Tournament...has 25 career goals...is from Santa Margherita Ligure, Genova, Italy.
9 Hunter Gettelfinger:
Junior attacker has scored 12 goals in 14 matches with a 20 steals (second on team) along with 15 assists, four ejections earned and six field blocks...had four goals, seven assists and six steals last weekend at the SoCal Invite and a goal at USC...scored three goals at the NorCal Invitational...played in 24 matches last season with 28 steals, 16 assists, eight ejections earned, a team-high 10 field blocks and 12 goals...was 2011 ACWPC and MPSF All-Academic...has 38 career goals.
16 Mitchell Hamilton:
True freshman attacker has eight goals in nine matches...also has eight steals, six assists, an ejection earned and a field block...had four goals in both the SoCal NorCal Invitationals...notched two goals in the Bears' Sept. 15 victory over UC Irvine and two goals in the Sept. 30 win over Pepperdine.
13 Luka Ivanovic:
Sophomore attacker has scored five goals in 14 matches with a team-high 11 field blocks along with 10 steals, eight assists and an ejection earned...in 2011 had seven goals in 25 matches with 15 steals, two assists and six field blocks...was 2011 ACWPC All-Academic...is from Podgorica, Montenegro...has 12 career goals.
2 Blake Kelly:
Sophomore defender/utility has scored two goals in 10 matches with six assists, four ejections earned, three field blocks and four steals...last season played in 25 matches with 20 steals, four assists, 11 goals, five field blocks and five ejections earned...was 2011 ACWPC and MPSF All-Academic...had a goal against UC Irvine in the first round of the 2011 MPSF Tournament...scored goals in MPSF victories Oct. 7 at UCLA and Oct. 21 versus Pepperdine at Cal...has 13 career goals.
10 Colin Mulcahy:
Redshirt freshman attacker has 18 goals in 14 matches, including a pair of first half goals at No. 1-ranked USC Sept. 23...also is second on the team with 19 ejections earned with 10 assists, nine steals and five field blocks...had four goals at the SoCal Invite and six goals at the NorCal Invite, including a team-high three goals Sept. 15 versus Air Force...had six goals in five matches at the Princeton Invitational.
6 Matt Russell:
Sophomore center has 12 goals in 14 matches with 10 ejections earned, seven steals, six assists and a field block...notched a goal at USC; and scored two goals at the SoCal Invite and five goals at the NorCal Invite...had four goals in five matches at the Princeton Invitational...has 15 career goals...redshirted in 2010.
11 Aleksa Saponjic:
Sophomore attacker has 22 goals in 11 matches with 12 assists, 11 steals, six ejections earned and three field blocks...tallied nine goals with five assists and five steals last weekend at the SoCal Invite, including four goals versus Pepperdine...had two goals at No. 1-ranked USC Sept. 23 and eight goals at the NorCal Invite, including a team-high three goals Sept. 16 versus UCLA....had three goals in two matches at the Princeton Invite...was third on the 2011 squad with 30 goals in 22 matches with 22 assists, 18 steals, nine ejections earned and six field blocks...earned 2011 honorable mention All-America honors as a freshman and helped Serbia to a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics...was also a 2011 ACWPC All-Academic selection...scored in all eight MPSF matches last season...won a gold medal at the World University Games in the summer of 2011 along with older brother Luka, a standout at Cal from 2008-11...has 52 career goals.
15 Max Schell:
True freshman center has seven goals in 14 matches with 15 ejections earned, 11 steals, four assists and four field blocks...had three goals in five matches at the Princeton Invite...added a team-high eight ejections earned at Princeton Invite.
1 Jon Sibley:
Sophomore goalie was outstanding Sept. 23 at No. 1-ranked USC in his first collegiate match, recording 12 saves with a steal and an assist.
7 Collin Smith:
Junior attacker leads the Bears and is fifth in the MPSF with 39 goals in 14 matches (2.79 gpg)...also has a team-high 20 assists and 24 steals with six field blocks and six ejections earned...scored 10 goals at both the SoCal and NorCal Invites...was named the Sept. 10 MPSF Player of the Week after scoring 19 goals in five matches with eight assists, seven steals, three field blocks and two ejections earned at the Princeton Invite...last season played in 22 matches with 26 goals, 20 steals, 28 assists, nine ejections earned and four field 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 Pacific...also notched a team-high three goals versus Stanford during the Nov. 19 Big Splash...has 81 career goals.