Sept. 8, 1997
No. 1 Ranked Bears Host Pacific and UC Davis
NOTING CAL: The California men's water polo team (0-0), which finished 15-7 overall and third in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament last season, is the No. 1 ranked team in the nation according to the American Water Polo Coaches preseason Top 25 poll. The Bears have also been tabbed as the favorite to win the MPSF title in a vote among the Federation coaches. Last year, Cal failed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 1985. The Bears, however, return a strong nucleus of players, including All-Americans Brent Albright, Brad Kittredge and Peter Stern. In the history of NCAA water polo, Cal has won 11 national titles, more than any other school in the nation. The Bears will be hosting all of their 1997 home water polo matches at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill due to the construction of Haas Pavilion on the Cal campus.
HEAD COACH STEVE HEASTON: Steve Heaston is in his ninth year as Cal's head coach with a 189-39 (.829) career record and three national titles ('90, '91, '92). Heaston has guided the Bears to NCAA titles in 1990, '91 and '92 and has been named NCAA Coach of the Year twice ('90 and '92) and conference coach of the year five times.
NOTING PACIFIC AND UC DAVIS: The Pacific Tigers (0-0) are ranked eighth in the preseason poll and finished the 1996 season 13-13 and sixth in the final national poll. Cal defeated the Tigers four-of-five matches last season, including winning 8-7 in sudden-death overtime in the '96 season opener at the Southern California Tournament, and 10-7 in the third-place match at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament at Cal's Spieker Aquatics Complex. The Bears one defeat to Pacific was a 14-12 overtime loss at the NorCal Tournament in Stockton. The Tigers leading returning scorer is senior driver Dan Fatchkov, who scored 44 points last season. The UC Davis Aggies (0-0) are ranked 10th in the preseason poll and finished the 1996 season 20-14, eighth in the final national poll and placed third at the NCAA Championship. The Aggies qualified for the NCAA Tournament by winning the Western Water Polo Association with a 9-4 mark. UC-Davis top returning scorer is senior driver Mike Gotelli, who tallied 71 goals last season. In 1996, Cal defeated the Aggies twice, 13-7 Oct. 27 at Davis, and 15-9 Nov. 2 at Spieker Aquatic Complex.
BEAR NOTES: The Bears will once again be led by senior Brent Albright (Lompoc, CA), a three-time All-American who has scored 139 points in his Cal career; senior Peter Stern (Lafayette, CA), a third team All-American last season and a member of the U.S. National Team this past summer and junior Brad Kittredge (Santa Barbara, CA), an honorable mention All-American and the team's leading scorer (38 points) in '96. The Bears also return steady senior Jeff Moloughney (Mission Viejo, CA), who despite injuries throughout his college career has scored 41 goals and sophomore Albert Won (Crenshaw, CA), who as a true freshman had two match-winning scores, scored 25 goals and was named Freshman Athlete of the Year in The Daily Californian.
NOTING CAL WATER POLO: Since the first NCAA water polo championship in 1969, the Bears have been in the national title match 17 of the 28 years, winning 11 national championships (1973-75, '77, '83-'84, '87-'88, '90, '91, '92). In the history of Cal water polo, the Bears have won 33 conference championships, 11 national championships and have had five NCAA Coaches of the Year, 13 Collegiate Players of the Year, 11 Conference Players of the Year, 134 All-Americans and 21 Olympians. At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics in which the United States finished seventh, Cal had five former players (Gavin Arroyo, 90-93; Troy Barnhart, 90-93; Kirk Everist, 85-88; Chris Humbert, 88-91; Chris Oeding, 89-92) on the U.S. National Team, more than any other university in the nation.