March 21, 2013
BERKELEY -In an outstanding example of Cal men's water polo's excellence in the classroom as well as the pool, the 2012 Golden Bears had 10 players selected to the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches All-Academic squad - more than any other school in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
Senior Marin Balarin; juniors Giacomo Cupido, Michael Boggan and Hunter Gettelfinger; sophomores Aleksa Saponjic, Jon Sibley, Luka Ivanovic, Matt Russell and Blake Kelly; and redshirt freshman Thomas Agramonte; were all noted by the ACWPC for their academic achievements.
Saponjic, who helped lead Serbia to the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympic, was a part of the ACWPC's Outstanding honorees class with a GPA between 3:71-4.0, majoring in business at Cal.
"Congratulations to all the players who performed in the pool and the classroom," said Cal coach Kirk Everist. "This team competed for a conference championship this past season, and it is great for us to lead the conference with 10 All-Academic team members as well."
Everist's squad finished the 2012 campaign 17-8, winning seven of its last eight matches, including upending No. 2-ranked UCLA, 12-9, in the MPSF tournament semifinal before fall to USC in the conference final. Cal only loses graduating seniors Marin Balarin and Mason Cox from the 2012 squad, and return All-America picks Saponjic (second team) and Collin Smith (first team) for the 2013 season. Additionally, the Bears return 2012 honorable mention All-Americans Gettelfinger, Sibley and Colin Mulcahy.
Saponjic was second on the team in scoring with 45 goals in 20 matches, including pacing Cal with four goals in the 11-9 victory over Pepperdine in the first round of the MPSF tournament. He concluded the year with 28 assists, 17 steals, 12 ejections earned and five field blocks. As a freshman in 2011, Saponjic earned honorable mention All-America honors and was an ACWPC All-Academic selection.