Oct. 6, 1997
Bears Travel to No. 1 Pepperdine
Sat. Oct. 11 at Pepperdine, Raleigh Runnels Memorial Pool, Malibu, CA 12 p.m. Sun. Oct. 12 at USC, McDonald's Swim Stadium, Los Angeles, CA 12 p.m.
LAST WEEK: The California men's water polo team (8-1, 3-0 in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, ranked No. 2 last week in the Coaches Top-20 poll) defeated No. 5 ranked and Bay Area rival Stanford, 7-4, last Friday (MPSF match), and No. 4 ranked UC Irvine, 9-4, Sunday at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill. The Bears victory over the Cardinal was a measure of revenge as the Bears had lost to Stanford, 9-7, last year in the semifinals of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament in Berkeley. Cal's victory over UC Irvine was the second time this season the Bears have defeated the Anteaters. Cal had topped UC Irvine, 12-7, in the third-place match of the Southern California Tournament Sept. 21. The Bears, who have outscored their opponents 106-47 so far this season, will be hosting all of their home water polo matches at DVC this year 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 197-40 (.831) 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 PEPPERDINE AND USC: The Pepperdine Waves (ranked No. 1 last week in the Top-20 poll) are 11-0 overall (2-0 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) and last week defeated No. 8 ranked UC Santa Barbara, 11-9 in overtime and Occidental, 31-5. Pepperdine won the Southern California Tournament earlier this year on Sept. 21, defeating Cal, 8-6 in the semifinals and USC, 8-7, in the finals. The Waves leading scorer this season is senior driver Jack Kocur with 25 points, including three, two-point goals. Last year, Cal was 1-0 versus Pepperdine, defeating the Waves, 13-8, Sept. 21 in Berkeley. The USC Trojans (ranked No. 3 last week in the Top-20 poll) are 7-2 overall (1-1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation). USC's leading scorer is junior driver Marko Pintaric with 28 points, including two, two-point goals. The Bears defeated the Trojans, 9-8, Sept. 27 at Diablo Valley College. It was Cal's first victory over USC since Oct. 7, 1995.
BEAR NOTES: Cal was led by the scoring of junior driver Phinney Gardner (San Clemente, CA), who had six goals over the weekend against Stanford and UC Irvine, tallying two goals against the Cardinal and four goals against UC Irvine. Gardner is currently the Bears second leading scorer in '97 with 16 goals after only scoring five goals last year. He has recovered nicely from a broken arm suffered last season, which knocked him out of the majority of the '96 campaign. Cal goalie Peter Kiefer (Pacific Palisades, CA) also has been playing well, recording nine saves in both the Stanford and UC Irvine contests. Kiefer played well in the USC match Sept. 27 as well, recording eight blocks, including a key save on a Trojan shot with 27 seconds left in the contest. Senior two-meter man Brent Albright (Lompoc, CA), who was named Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Week Sept. 29, scored the match-winning goal with 1:19 left in the USC game to break a 8-8 tie and lead the Bears to their first victory over the Trojans since '95. Albright, a three-time All-American, now has 158 points in his career. At the Southern California Tournament three weeks ago, Albright was named first team all-tournament, while senior driver Peter Stern (Lafayette, CA), who scored five goals at the USC Tournament, earned second team all-tournament honors.
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.