Oct. 13, 1997
No. 2 Bears Host Long Beach State, UMass, Travel to Norcal Tourn.
THIS WEEK Thu. Oct. 16 Long Beach State, Diablo Valley College Pool, Pleasant Hill, CA 5 p.m. Fri. Oct. 17 Massachusetts, Diablo Valley College Pool, Pleasant Hill, CA 3 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Oct. 18-19 at Nor Cal Tournament, deGuerre Pool, Stanford, CA All Day or West Valley College Pool, Saratoga, CA Sat. Cal vs. Brown, 8 a.m. at WVC. If Cal wins, will play winner of Pacific-Air Force match, 3 p.m. WVC. Sun. If Cal is undefeated, will play 11:30 a.m. at Stanford vs. either USC, UCLA, Long Beach State or UMass. Championship match is 5 p.m. Sunday at Stanford.
LAST WEEK: The California men's water polo team (9-2, 3-1 in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, ranked No. 2 last week in the Coaches Top-20 poll) kept itself in the thick of the national title race by splitting a pair of key matches in southern California last weekend. Cal fell to No. 1 ranked Pepperdine, 6-4, last Saturday in Malibu, but rebounded to defeat No. 3 ranked USC, 10-8 in overtime, in Los Angeles. The Bears only two loses this season have been to the undefeated Waves as Pepperdine defeated Cal, 8-6, Sept. 21 in the semifinals of the Southern California Tournament. It was the second time this season the Bears have defeated the Trojans (Cal defeated USC, 9-8, Sept. 27 at Diablo Valley College). Cal, which has outscored its opponents 120-61 so far this season, will be hosting all of its home water polo matches at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill 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 198-41 (.828) 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).
NOTING LONG BEACH STATE, UMASS, NOR CAL TOURN.: The Long Beach State 49ers (ranked No. 11 last week in the Top-20 poll) are 5-8 overall (1-3 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) and last week lost to Pacific, 8-7, and Stanford, 15-5. The 49ers leading scorer this season is junior two-meter Jeff Colyer with 22 goals. Last year, Cal was 1-0 versus Long Beach State, defeating the 49ers, 16-10, Oct. 4 in Long Beach. The Massachusetts Minutemen (ranked No. 15 last week in the Top-20 poll) are 17-4 overall. UMass' leading scorer is junior Brian Stahl with 82 points, including seven, two-point goals. The last time the Bears faced the Minutemen was the semifinal of the 1995 NCAA Tournament, with Cal defeating UMass, 10-6, Dec. 1 at Stanford. The 16-team Nor Cal Tournament features the top 13 teams in the nation, with the seedings as follows--Pepperdine, Cal, USC, Stanford, UC Irvine, UCLA, Pacific, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, Air Force, Long Beach State, UC Davis, Santa Clara, Brown, UMass and Navy.
BEAR NOTES: Cal was led by the scoring of junior driver Phinney Gardner (San Clemente, CA), who had four goals over the weekend against Pepperdine and USC, tallying two goals against the Waves and two goals against the Trojans. Gardner is currently the Bears second leading scorer in '97 with 20 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. Gardner has been Cal's leading scorer in the last four matches. Against USC, Cal scored a goal in each overtime period to post the 10-8 win. With the score tied 8-8, Gardner scored with 1:25 left in the first overtime period. The Bears were then able to seal the match when sophomore transfer (UC Santa Barbara) Chris Dornin (Laguna Beach, CA) scored with 1:38 in the second three-minute overtime period. USC had trailed Cal, 7-5, going into the final quarter of regulation but scored three unanswered points to take a 8-7 lead. Senior two-meter man Brent Albright (Lompoc, CA), who was named Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Week Sept. 29, was able to save the day for the Bears when he scored with nine second left against USC to send the match into overtime. Albright was also the star in Cal's earlier win over USC as he scored the match-winning goal with 1:19 left to break a 8-8 tie and lead the Bears to their first victory over the Trojans since 1995. Albright, a three-time All-American and Cal's leading scorer with 21 points (two, two-point goals), now has 160 points for his career.