Dec. 4, 2010
BERKELEY -Senior center Zach White scored a goal with 2:41 left in the match to propel the Cal men's water polo team (24-3) to a 7-6 victory over Loyola Marymount (19-9) Saturday (Dec. 4) in the opening day of the 2010 NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship at Cal's Spieker Aquatics Center. The Golden Bears, who had to come back from a 6-4 deficit in the third period, scored the final three goals of the match to pull out the win.
Cal will next face No. 1-ranked USC (27-2), a 10-7 winner over St. Francis College (24-4) in the other national semifinal, for the 2010 national championship at 3 p.m. Sunday. St. Francis will play LMU at 1 p.m. in the consolation match.
The match was a series of runs for both teams. The Bears' junior standout Ivan Rackov scored first on a counterattack with 3:03 left in the first period, but the Lions responded on Albert Samuels inside goal with 3:03 in the opening quarter.
LMU ran off the next two goals to open the second period on scores by Brian Flacks and Edgaras Asajavicius to take a 3-1 advantage, but Cal came back with three straight goals by freshman left-hander Max Bergeson, Rackov and senior captain Brian Dudley to lead, 4-3, at halftime.
Then it was Loyola Marymount's turn to score three straight behind Samuel's lob over Cal sophomore goalie Justin Parsons and back-to-back goals from Ikaika Aki.
With the Lions leading 6-4 with the third period winding down, Cal turned the match around. Frosh Bergeson scored his second goal of the match with six seconds left in the third period to get the Bears within 6-5. Junior Cory Nasoff's goal with 3:50 left in the fourth period, in which he gathered in a loose ball just in front of the net to score, tied the contest at 6-6.
Finally, White gave Cal its first lead since the end of the first half when he scored from two-meters on a strong inside move with a little more than two minutes remaining to put the Bears in the national title match and chance to win their NCAA-record 14th national men's water polo title
Besides two goals apiece from Samuels and Aki, the Lions received outstanding goalie play from senior Andy Stevens, who had 12 saves, including block a Rackov five-meter penalty shot in the second period. Parsons had 11 saves for Cal, including three crucial saves in the fourth period.
"It was a great game," said Cal coach Kirk Everist. "It certainly was a fun game to watch, but maybe not for us because we were almost on the wrong end of it. The guys stepped up to make some plays at the end to get it done. I think those are the toughest games. We were maybe a little tight in certain circumstances, but we had some really nice plays from some different people, which has been the beauty of this team.
"We had a couple goals from true freshman like Max Bergeson that really helped us out. Max came in and really lit a fire under us...generating offense and making Andy (LMU goalie Andy Stevens) start to honor our shots."
Tickets and information on the NCAA tournament are available through the following links, Click here for 2010 NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship tickets, 2010 NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship page. Cal will also host the NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship in 2011.
3:28 1st Ivan Rackov Cal
3:03 1st Albert Samuels LMU
7:21 2nd Brian Flacks LMU
4:09 2nd Edgaras Asajavicius LMU
2:45 2nd Max Bergeson Cal
1:52 2nd Ivan Rackov Cal
:58 2nd Brian Dudley Cal
6:08 3rd Albert Samuels LMU
5:08 3rd Ikaika Aki LMU
1:21 3rd Ikaika Aki LMU
:06 3rd Max Bergeson Cal
3:50 4th Cory Nasoff Cal
2:41 4th Zach White Cal
LOYOLA MARYMOUNT --1-2-3-0--6
Loyola Marymount Goal Scorers - Albert Samuels 2, Ikaika Aki 2, Brian Flacks, Edgares Asajavious
Goalie Saves: Andy Stevens, Loyola Marymount 12 (3,5,2,2);
Justin Parsons, Cal 11 (2,4,2,3)