Oct. 20, 1997
Bears Travel to UC Irvine and UCLA
LAST WEEK: The California men's water polo team (13-4, 4-1 in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play, ranked No. 2 last week in the Coaches Top-20 poll) had a busy schedule last week, playing six matches in four days. At Diablo Valley College, the Bears defeated Long Beach State, 19-8, in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match Oct. 16 and Massachusetts, 12-7, Oct. 17. Cal then travelled to the NorCal Tournament where it defeated Brown, 12-2, and Pacific, 12-3, Saturday, Oct. 18 at West Valley College in Saratoga, CA. On Sunday, Oct. 19, the Bears fell in the semifinals of the NorCal Tournament, 9-6, to USC and lost to Pepperdine, 9-6, in the third-place match. Cal's victory over UMass was coach Steve Heaston's 200th career victory. The Bears, who have outscored its opponents 187-99 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 202-43 (.824) 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 UC IRVINE AND UCLA: The UC Irvine Anteaters (ranked No. 5 last week in the Top-20 poll) are 6-8 overall (1-2 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) and last week lost to Stanford, 6-5, and placed fifth in the NorCal Tournament, losing to UCLA, 6-1, in the fifth-place match. The Anteaters leading scorer this season is senior two-meter Robert Allaire with 20 points, including two, two-point goals. Last year, Cal was 3-1 versus UC Irvine and this season defeated the Anteaters, 12-7, Sept. 21 in the third-place match of the Southern California Tournament, and 9-4 Oct. 5 at Diablo Valley College. The UCLA Bruins (ranked No. 6 last week in the Top-20 poll) are 9-6 overall (2-1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) and placed fifth in the NorCal Tournament. During the first day of the NorCal Tournament, the Bruins lost to eventual NorCal champion USC, 10-9 in overtime. UCLA's leading scorer is freshman two-meter Sean Kern with 25 goals. The Bears were 0-1 versus the Bruins last season, losing 9-8 in overtime Oct. 26 in Berkeley. Prior to that, Cal had lost to UCLA, 10-8, in the 1995 NCAA title match.
BEAR NOTES: The leading scorer for the Bears in the six matches last week was junior driver Phinney Gardner (San Clemente, CA), who tallied 12 points, including one, two-point goal. Gardner was Cal's leading scorer with four goals versus Long Beach State and five goals in the Brown match. He is now the Bears top scorer for the year with 32 points. Another leading scorer for Cal last week was junior two-meter Ryan Flynn (Los Angeles, CA), who had 11 goals last week. Flynn also had four goals against Long Beach State and was the Bears leading scorer with three goals versus Massachusetts. Flynn is now tied for second on the team in scoring, along with senior two-meter man Brent Albright (Lompoc, CA), with 24 points. Albright, who was named Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Week Sept. 29, has led the Bears to two victories over USC this season. He scored with nine second left against the Trojans Oct. 12 in Los Angeles to send the match into overtime and help Cal to the 10-8 win. Albright was also the star in the Bears win versus USC, Sept. 27 at Diablo Valley College, 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. A three-time All-American, Albright now has 163 career points.
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.