BERKELEY – In a battle between two of the top teams in the MPSF, No. 4-ranked Cal fell to No. 2-ranked UCLA, 6-5, in the semifinals of the NorCal Invitational Sunday (Sept. 22) at Spieker Aquatics Complex. The Golden Bears were led by two goals from redshirt freshman Farrel South, and junior Aleksa Saponjic got Cal within one goal with 27 seconds left in the match.
The Bears will next play Bay Area rival Stanford at 4:50 p.m. Sunday in the tournament third place match. The Cardinal had lost to defending national champion USC, 8-7 in overtime, in the other semifinal.
The Bears had owned a 1-0 lead after the first period on a shot by South with 1:37 left in the quarter. UCLA rattled off two goals early in the second period to take a 2-1 lead, but senior captain Collin Smith was able to tie the contest, 2-2, with a score at 5:42 left in the half.
Unfortunately for Cal, the Bruins’ Jack Fellner score with 3:46 in the second period to give UCLA a 3-2 halftime lead. South scored his second goal of the match at 3:39 in the third period to tie the game, 3-3, but again UCLA jumped ahead, this time on Lucas Reynolds' goal with 1:12 in the third period.
Sophomore two-meter man Max Schell tied the contest, 4-4, with an inside goal with 6:52 left in the fourth quarter, however UCLA went on a 2-0 run with a goal by Daniel Lenhart (5:55) and a goal by Anthony Daboub (4:29), to put the Bruins up, 6-4, and put the game out of reach.
On Saturday, Saponjic scored six goals in a 15-10 victory over Long Beach State to advance the Bears to the semifinals. In the Saturday morning match, Cal had defeated Air Force, 17-8, behind three goals from sophomore Mitchell Hamilton.
UCLA 0 - 3 - 1 - 2 --- 6
California 1 - 1 - 1 - 2 --- 5
Cal Goals: Farrel South 2, Aleksa Saponjic, Max Schell, Collin Smith
Cal Saves: Jon Sibley 4