Nov. 5, 2011
SANTA BARBARA, CALIF. -Sophomore Collin Smith scored with 3:02 left in the match to break a 7-7 tie and give the No. 3-ranked Cal men's water polo team a crucial 8-7 MPSF road win Saturday (Nov. 5) at No. 5 UC Santa Barbara. The Golden Bears, also led by two goals apiece from seniors Ivan Rackov and Zach Greenwood, improved to 17-3 overall and 5-1 in league play.
Cal has two MPSF matches remaining, Nov. 11 hosting Pacific (Senior Day) and Nov. 19 at Bay Area rival Stanford, before entering the MPSF Tournament, Nov. 25-27, at UCLA. The Bears are looking for a high seed entering the conference championship. The winner of the MPSF tournament is the automatic qualifier into the NCAA Championship, hosted Dec. 3-4 at Cal's Spieker Aquatics Complex.
Last year, the Bears fell to USC, 12-10 in overtime, in the national title match.
In the contest versus the Gauchos, Cal exploded for five goals in the second period on a pair of Rackov goals and solo scores from Greenwood and brothers Luka and Aleksa Saponjic to take a 6-3 advantage. However, UCSB battled back and sophomore Matt Gronow was able to tie the match at 7-7 with a little more than five minutes left in the game, before Smith secured the Bears' win.
"Overall it was a good defensive effort because Santa Barbara is a tough place to play," said Cal coach Kirk Everist. "The shallow end of the pool is not something you can prepare very well for. We played very good five-man defense which was the difference in the game."
CAL 1 5 1 1 - 8
UCSB 1 3 1 2 - 7
UCSB: B. Shoemaker, D. Shoemaker, Zhang, Johnson, Gronow, Gillespie, Gaughan
CAL: Justin Parsons 8
UCSB: Christian 9