Fri.-Sun., Nov. 29-Dec. 1 at MPSF Tourn., Chris Kjeldsen Pool;, Stockton, Calif. All Day
Bear Bites: Cal (16-7, 4-4) enters the 2013 MPSF Tournament as the No. 5-seeded team and will be playing No. 4-seed USC (23-4, 5-3) in the first round Friday (Nov. 29) at 3 p.m. at Pacific’s Chris Kjeldsen Pool in Stockton. Kirk Everist’s squad, which fell to the Trojans, 11-9, Nov. 9 at Cal, will most likely need to capture the MPSF Tournament in order to advance to the 2013 NCAA championship Dec. 7-8 at Stanford. The Golden Bears, who last defeated USC Oct. 16, 2010 in Los Angeles (12-9), are looking for their 27th postseason appearance and an NCAA-record 14th national title. Cal’s seven losses this season have all been to teams currently ranked higher in the national polls. The Bears feature 2012 first-team All-American Collin Smith and 2012 Olympian Aleksa Saponjic. Smith led Cal with 61 goals and 31 steals last season, and Saponjic won a bronze medal as a member of the Serbian National Team in London and was a 2012 second-team All-American. Cal also returns three honorable mention All-Americans from the 2012 squad that finished 17-8 overall (5-3 in the MPSF) and were runners-up to USC at the MPSF Tournament. Senior Hunter Gettelfinger notched 20 goals and was a top defender with a team-high 46 steals in 2012. Junior goalie Jon Sibley had 110 saves in 12 matches, including 12 saves in his first collegiate match against top-ranked USC, while sophomore Colin Mulcahy tallied 25 goals in 25 matches and was second on the squad with 29 ejections earned as a redshirt freshman.
Cal’s 2013 Scenario: In 2013, the Bears hope to finish strong like they did in 2012 when they won seven of their last eight contests and upended then-No. 2 ranked UCLA, 12-9, in the MPSF Tournament semifinal (fell to USC, 9-5, in MPSF final). Cal’s top scorers this season are Saponjic (36), Mulcahy (35), and Smith (34). Other stat leaders include senior Giacomo Cupido with 33 assists and 32 steals (tied with Smith), sophomore Thomas Agramonte with 27 ejections earned and Mulcahy with 12 field blocks. 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.
About the 2013 MPSF Tournament: The 2013 MPSF Tournament features the top eight teams in the MPSF standings. Other Friday matches include No. 1-seed Pacific (20-3, 7-1) versus No. 8-seed UC Irvine (13-12, 1-7) at 10 a.m., No. 2-seed Stanford (19-4, 7-1) versus No. 7-seed Long Beach State (19-12, 1-7) at 11:30 a.m. and No. 3-seed UCLA (27-2, 7-1) versus No. 6-seed UC Santa Barbara (16-9, 3-5) at 1:30 p.m. If the Bears win Friday, they would play the winner of Pacific-UC Irvine at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. If Cal wins its semifinal, it would play for the MPSF title at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25. The Bears last captured the 2006 MPSF title when they upset No. 1 USC, 6-5, in Irvine. Cal also won the 2002, 1995, 1993 and 1992 MPSF Tournaments (second-most in the MPSF behind USC’s seven titles). For 2013 MPSF Tournament information and results/streaming go to www.PacificTigers.com/MPSF.
Smith Standout: Cal senior attacker Smith was stellar last season, leading the Bears in both scoring and assists, while also tallying 31 steals, 11 ejections earned and 10 field blocks. Smith, who was elected 2013 team captain by his teammates, has been a major contributor for Cal ever since his freshman year in 2010 and was a 2011 honorable mention All-American. He joins fellow senior Cupido as the only two Bears on the current squad who competed in the 2010 national title match in which Cal dropped a 12-10 overtime decision to USC. Smith currently has 132 career goals, 92 assists, 92 steals, 29 ejections earned and 29 field blocks.
Saponjic’s Olympic Experience: Cal junior attacker Saponjic helped his native Serbia to a 12-11 victory over Montenegro in the bronze medal match of the 2012 London Olympics. Saponjic became the first Bear to win an Olympic medal in men’s water polo since Kevin Robertson and Olympic assistant coach Steve Heaston led Team USA to a silver medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Saponjic 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.
Head Coach Kirk Everist: A 2004 inductee into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame, Kirk Everist is in his 12th year with a 260-78 mark (.769), 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: Sophomore attacker has 17 goals in 23 matches with a team-high 27 ejections earned along with 19 assists, 13 steals and four field blocks...had a goal against USC Nov. 9 at Cal and scored a goal versus the Trojans in last year’s MPSF final…was a 2012 ACWPC and MPSF All-Academic selection…has 36 career goals with 40 assists, 35 steals, 36 ejections earned and eight field blocks.
1 Michael Boggan: Senior goalie has 105 saves in 14 matches (325 minutes of action) with 10 steals and nine assists...had a career-high 14 saves Oct. 5 versus Pacific…last season was the recipient of the team’s Golden Bear Coaches’ Award and was both ACWPC and an MPSF All-Academic selection....has 225 career saves.
19 Thomas Carroll: Freshman attacker has 13 goals in 23 matches with 12 steals, eight ejections earned, six assists and three field blocks…had three goals Sept. 7 in the season-opener versus Redlands.
14 Giacomo Cupido: Senior defender/utility has 17 goals in 23 matches with a team-high 33 assists and 32 steals…also has nine field blocks and seven ejections earned...scored a goal against USC Nov. 9 at Cal...is a three-time ACWPC All-Academic selection…has 51 career goals with 128 steals, 106 assists, 30 field blocks and 17 ejections earned…competed against USC as a true freshman in the 2010 NCAA title match.
9 Hunter Gettelfinger: Senior attacker has 22 goals in 22 matches with 31 assists, 24 ejections earned, 23 steals and seven field blocks...scored a goal against Stanford in the Big Splash and notched a pair of goals versus USC Nov. 9 at Cal…had a team-high four goals Sept. 7 at UC San Diego…was a 2012 honorable mention All-American and is a three-time ACWPC and MPSF All-Academic selection...has 59 career goals with 114 steals, 84 assists, 46 ejections earned and 31 field blocks.
16 Mitchell Hamilton: Sophomore attacker has 16 goals in 22 matches with 14 assists, eight steals and eight ejections earned…scored a goal against Stanford in the Big Splash and had two goals as a true freshman versus USC in the 2012 MPSF title match…had a team-high three goals in an MPSF victory at UC Santa Barbara Oct. 20…has 29 career goals with 22 assists, 22 steals, 12 ejections earned and six field blocks.
18 Chandler Jarrels-Stickney: Freshman attacker has 15 goals in 22 matches with nine steals, one assist, seven ejections earned and four field blocks…had a team-high two goals Nov. 14 versus Santa Clara and three goals Sept. 28 versus Redlands.
13 Luka Ivanovic: Junior attacker has scored 13 goals in 22 matches with 21 steals, six assists, five ejections earned and two field blocks...had two goals in last year’s MPSF Tournament…for his career he has 28 goals with 56 steals, 21 field blocks, 16 assists and eight ejections earned...was 2012 ACWPC and MPSF All-Academic.
2 Blake Kelly: Junior defender/utility has scored nine goals in 22 matches with 17 steals, 13 assists, seven ejections earned and four field blocks...last year scored a goal versus Pepperdine in the opening match of the MPSF Tournament…is a two-time ACWPC and MPSF All-Academic selection...has 27 career goals with 56 steals, 29 assists, 20 ejections earned and 12 field blocks.
10 Colin Mulcahy: Sophomore attacker is second on the team with 35 goals and 24 ejections earned, and leads the team with 12 field blocks…also has 23 steals and seven assists...notched a goal against Stanford in the Big Splash, led the Bears with two goals Nov. 9 versus USC and had a team-high four goals Nov. 17 versus UC Irvine...was an honorable mention All-American last season as a redshirt freshman…has 60 career goals with 53 ejections earned, 44 steals, 27 assists and 19 field blocks.
6 Matt Russell: Junior center has eight goals in 22 matches with 20 steals, 11 ejections earned, nine assists and five field blocks...scored a goals in Cal’s Nov. 9 match versus USC and had a team-high three goals in the Bears’ MPSF Tournament semifinal victory over UCLA...team’s 2012-2013 recipient of Golden Bear Strength Award and a 2012 ACWPC and MPSF All-Academic selection…has 29 career goals with 39 steals, 39 ejections earned, 20 assists and six field blocks.
11 Aleksa Saponjic: Junior attacker leads the team with 36 goals and has 30 assists, 23 steals, 21 ejections earned and four field blocks...had a team-high three goals at the Big Splash and last season had a team-high four goals in the Bears’ opening victory over Pepperdine at the 2012 MPSF Tournament…was named second-team All-American in 2012 after earning 2011 honorable mention All-America honors as a freshman…helped Serbia to a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics...was also a 2011 and 2012 ACWPC All-Academic selection...has 111 career goals with 80 assists, 58 steals, 42 ejections earned and 15 field blocks.
15 Max Schell: Sophomore center has six goals in 23 matches with 18 ejections earned, seven steals and two assists…had a score versus USC Nov. 9...has 15 career goals with 47 ejections earned, 23 steals, 12 assists and five field blocks.
4 Farrel South: Freshman attacker has 26 goals (fourth on the team) in 22 matches with 16 steals, 11 assists, three ejections earned and three field blocks…scored a goal versus USC Nov. 9…led the Bears with four goals Oct. 13 at UC Irvine during the SoCal Invitational…also paced the Bears with two goals Sept. 22 versus UCLA.
1 Jon Sibley: Junior goalie has 131 saves in 15 matches (392 minutes) with 15 steals and three assists…notched 14 saves Nov. 9 versus USC…was outstanding Sept. 23, 2012 at then-No. 1-ranked USC in his first collegiate match, recording 12 saves with a steal and an assist...had 29 saves during the 2012 MPSF Tournament, including 11 saves in the semifinal victory over UCLA…earned 2012 honorable mention All-America honors and was ACWPC and MPSF All-Academic…has 241 career saves.
7 Collin Smith: Senior team captain is third on the team with 34 goals and has a team-high 32 steals with 27 assists, 10 ejections earned and 10 field blocks...had a pair of goals in the Big Splash and tallied four goals in last year’s MPSF Tournament…was a first-team All-American in 2012 after earning 2011 honorable mention All-America honors...has 132 career goals,92 assists, 92 steals, 29 ejections earned and 29 field blocks.