Nov. 25, 2012
LOS ANGELES, CALIF - Cal senior Marin Balarin and freshman Mitchell Hamilton each scored two goals apiece in the championship match of the 2012 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament, but the Golden Bears were unable to snap top-ranked USC's winning streak, falling to the Trojans, 9-5, Sunday at McDonald's Swim Stadium. The Golden Bears (17-8), who ended the year winning seven of their last eight matches, finished 17-8, while host USC remained undefeated with a 27-0 record and advances to next week's NCAA Tournament at its home pool.
Cal was outstanding at the 2012 MPSF Tournament, defeating Pepperdine, 11-9, Friday before upending No. 2-ranked UCLA, 12-9, on Saturday despite being without its top two scorers - junior Collin Smith (61 goals) and sophomore Aleksa Saponjic (45 goals).
"It was a tough match (versus USC)," said Cal coach Kirk Everist, who led the Bears to the 2006 and 2007 NCAA titles. "This team battled like they have all year. As I said, `there is no quit in this group', and they showed it today. I am as proud of this team as any team I have ever been a part of."
In the match against the Trojans, a team the Bears upended in the 2006 and 2007 national title games, Cal trailed 2-0 in the first period before team captain Balarin scored with 53 seconds left in the quarter. USC upped its lead to 3-1 at the half before both teams scored four goals in the third period.
Cal was able to get within 7-5 after three periods on a pair of goals by Hamilton and goals by Balarin and Agramonte. However, the Trojans sealed the win by shutting out the Bears in the fourth period, 2-0.
Balarin concluded his Cal career third on the team with 41 goals and finished his college career with 68 goals. He joined Mason Cox as the only two seniors on the Bears' 2012 squad.
CAL 1 0 4 0 5
USC 2 1 4 2 9
USC - Mace Rapsey 4, Matt Burton 2, Kostas Genidounias, Nikola Vavic, Connor Virjee.
CAL - Jon Sibley 9
USC - Clark 11