Oct. 11, 2009
IRVINE, CALIF. -The No. 4-ranked California men's water polo team (11-4) had a busy second day of the UCI Invitational, upsetting No. 1-ranked Stanford, 10-8, in the morning semifinals; before falling to No. 3 USC (16-1), 7-6, in the title match on Sunday, Oct. 11, in Irvine. The Golden Bears reached the tournament championship by defeating Pacific (14-6) and No. 5 Loyola Marymount (9-8) on Saturday, before the upset of the previously unbeaten Cardinal.
In the tournament final, USC's Peter Kurzeka`s goal with 5:37 remaining in the fourth quarter proved to the game-winner for the Trojans. Kurzeka's score gave USC a 7-5 lead and the Golden Bears` Luka Saponjic notched an extra-man goal with 25 seconds left in the match to pull Cal within one, but the Trojans ran the clock out. USC's largest lead of the match came at 6-3 on a goal by Jordan Thompson with 4:24 left in the third quarter before the Bears battled back. Kyle Sterling led the Trojans with two goals, while Saponjic scored a pair goals for Cal.
Junior Zach White notched a match-high four goals to lead Cal in its victory over Stanford. Back-to-back goals by White (6:23) and senior captain Mike Sample (5:15) in the fourth quarter gave Cal a 9-6 lead and the Bears maintained at least a two-goal advantage the rest of the way.
Other top performers for Cal against the Cardinal were Rackov with six assists and sophomore goalie Wil Toppen with 13 saves. Rackov, Warden, junior Brian Dudley and sophomore Charlie Steffens also tallied goals for Cal.
The Bears will next travel to No. 2-ranked UCLA on Friday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. in Los Angeles. The Bruins fell to Stanford, 5-4, in the UCI Invitational third-place match.