Sept. 13, 2012
9-13-12 Cal men's water polo release
Sat.-Sun., Sept. 15-16 at NorCal Invitational, Avery/Belardi Pool, Stanford, Calif. All Day
No. 3-ranked Cal (5-0), featuring 2012 Olympian Aleksa Saponjic, travels to Stanford this weekend for the prestigious 16-team NorCal Invitational (NorCal Tournament Page). The NorCal tourney includes the country's top teams, including No. 1 USC, No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Cal and No. 4 Stanford from the MPSF. The Bears, who play No. 16 Air Force (3-1) Saturday (Sept. 15, 10:50 a.m.) to begin the tournament, are 5-0 after outscoring opponents, 82-21, last weekend at the Princeton Invitational. On Sept. 10, junior attacker Collin Smith earned MPSF Player of the Week honors (Smith MPSF POW release) after tallying 19 goals with eight assists, seven steals and three field blocks in Cal's victories over No. 20 St. Francis (16-3), No. 13 Princeton (16-4, shown live on ESPNU), Bucknell (20-3), Harvard (13-7) and MIT (17-4). Along with sophomore Saponjic, who won a bronze medal as a member of the Serbian National Team in London and was a 2011 honorable mention All-American as a freshman, the Bears return All-American Smith from the 2011 squad that finished 22-4 overall and 7-1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. Smith was a 2011 honorable mention All-American, scoring 26 goals with 20 steals and 28 assists, nailing match-winning goals in Cal's MPSF victories against UC Santa Barbara and Pacific.
Princeton Invite Review:
Besides Smith's exploits at Princeton, senior Marin Balarin notched 14 goals in five matches, while senior Mason Cox and Smith had a team-high eight assists. Junior Hunter Gettlefinger paced the Bears with eight steals, and Balarin and true freshman Max Schell had eight ejections earned. Cox and sophomore Luka Ivanovic tied for a team-best four field blocks as well.
About the NorCal Invitational:
The NorCal Invitational features 16 teams, 15 which are ranked in this week's Top 20 poll. Pools A and D play Saturday's matches at the Avery Pool, while Pools B and C compete at the Belardi Pool. Pool A consists of No. 1 USC, No. 8 Pepperdine, No. 9 Long Beach State and Pomona-Pitzer. Pool B includes No. 2 UCLA, No. 7 Pacific, No. 10 Loyola Marymount and No. 18 Concordia. Pool C has No. 3 Cal, No. 6 UC Irvine, No. 11 UC San Diego and No. 16 Air Force. Pool D features No. 4 Stanford, No. 5 UC Santa Barbara, No. 12 UC Davis and No. 14 Santa Clara. On Sept. 17, Cal plays Air Force at 10:50 a.m., and if the Bears prevail, they would play the winner of UC Irvine-UC San Diego at 6:15 p.m. If Cal wins both of its matches Saturday, it would play Sunday (Sept. 16) at 12:15 p.m. at Avery Pool versus the winner of Pool B (UCLA, Pacific, Loyola Marymount, Concordia). If Cal wins that match, it plays for the championship at 6:15 p.m. Sunday. The Bears last captured the NorCal Invitational in 2003 when they upset then-No. 1-ranked USC in overtime in the semifinals and upended No. 2-ranked and host Stanford in sudden-death overtime. Last season at the NorCal Invitational in Stockton, the Bears fell to UCLA, 6-5, in the semifinals; and defeated Stanford, 8-7, in the third-place match.
Saponjic's Olympic Experience:
Cal sophomore Aleksa Saponjic helped Serbia to a 12-11 victory over Montenegro in the bronze medal match of the London Olympics on Aug. 12. Saponjic became the first Bear to win an Olympic medal in men's water polo since Kevin Robertson and assistant coach Steve Heaston won silver for Team USA in 1988. In the bronze medal match, Saponjic, the second youngest player on the Serbian national team at 20, played a little more than eight minutes, recording a steal and winning the sprint to lead off the second and third quarters. For the entire Olympics, Saponjic notched a goal in Serbia's 21-7 win over host Great Britain on July 31, and ended up winning seven sprints with four steals, two block shots and one assist.
Cal's 2012 Scenario:
In 2012, the Bears will look to avenge last year's 7-6 overtime loss to UCLA in the MPSF semifinals that knocked them out of the 2011 NCAA Tournament...of Cal's four losses last season (22-4), all were by one goal, including a 9-8 in sudden death overtime to four-time defending NCAA champion USC at Cal...in the last two years, the Bears have gone 15-1 in MPSF league play and were national runners-up in 2010...Cal has won more collegiate titles (13) than any other team in the nation, last upending USC for the 2006 (8-7) and 2007 (8-6) NCAA titles...the Bears will be televised four times during the regular season with two matches on ESPNU (Sept. 7 at Princeton, 6 p.m. ET; and Sept. 23 at USC, 1 p.m.) and two matches on the Pac-12 Networks (UCLA on Oct. 6, TBA; and Stanford, Oct. 20, TBA, at Spieker Aquatics Complex).
Head Coach Kirk Everist:
A 2004 inductee into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame, Kirk Everist is in his 11th year with a 232-63 mark (.786), leading the Bears to NCAA titles in 2006 and 2007, and MPSF crowns in 2002 and 2006. He was the 2006 NCAA Coach of the Year and 2002 MPSF Coach of the Year. A 1990 Cal graduate, Everist led the Bears to NCAA titles in 1987 and 1988, earning All-American status three straight seasons (1986-88) and NCAA Player of the Year honors in 1988. He played for the USA National Team for nine years (1988-96)and competed in the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games.
INDIVIDUAL CAL PLAYER NOTES:
12 Thomas Agramonte:
Freshman attacker who redshirted during the 2012 season...had seven goals at Princeton with four assists, three steals and an ejection earned...led the Bears with four goals Sept. 8 versus Harvard.
8 Marin Balarin:
Senior attacker and team captain has scored 14 goals in five matches (2.80 gpg) with eight ejections earned, seven assists, three steals and a field block...had a team-high four goals Sept. 8 against Bucknell...had 19 goals in 25 matches last season with six assists, 11 steals, a field block and 28 ejections earned...was selected the recipient of the Peter J. Cutino Award as the team's most improved player and was 2011 ACWPC and MPSF All-Academic...scored goals against UC Irvine and Stanford in the 2011 MPSF Tournament...notched a team-high four goals Oct. 1 versus Santa Clara at the SoCal Tournament and a goal versus Stanford in the Nov. 19 Big Splash...has 41 career goals.
3 Max Bergeson:
Left-handed sophomore attacker had three goals in four matches at Princeton with three assists, two steals and two field blocks...redshirted during the 2011 season after contributing as a freshman in 2010...had 15 goals in 24 matches with 14 assists, 13 steals, six field blocks and an ejection earned in 2010, including scoring two key goals against Loyola Marymount in the NCAA Tournament semifinal.
1 Michael Boggan:
Junior goalie had 14 saves in five matches (72 minutes of action) at the Princeton Invitational...had eight saves during the Sept. 8 Harvard match...has 25 career saves.
4 Mason Cox:
Senior attacker had five goals in five matches at the Princeton Invitational...also tallied a team-high eight assists and four field blocks, along with four steals...has 21 career goals.
14 Giacomo Cupido:
Junior defender/utility competed in two matches at the Princeton Invitational, tallying four assists, two field blocks, one steal and one ejection earned...played in 25 matches with 36 steals, 25 assists, 10 goals, eight field blocks and five ejections earned last season...was 2011 ACWPC and MPSF All-Academic...had a goal against UCLA and two goals against Stanford in the 2011 MPSF Tournament...scored a goal against USC in the Oct. 15 MPSF match at Cal and a goal in a 9-8 MPSF win over Pacific Nov. 11 at Cal...has 19 career goals...is from Santa Margherita Ligure, Genova, Italy.
9 Hunter Gettelfinger:
Junior attacker has scored four goals in five matches with a team-high eight steals along with five assists, four ejections earned and a field block...played in 24 matches last season with 28 steals, 16 assists, eight ejections earned, a team-high 10 field blocks and 12 goals...was 2011 ACWPC and MPSF All-Academic...scored goals in 2011 MPSF matches versus USC, Long Beach State, Pepperdine and UC Irvine...has 30 career goals.
13 Luka Ivanovic:
Sophomore attacker has scored three goals in five matches with a team-high four field blocks along with four assists and three steals...had seven goals in 25 matches with 15 steals, two assists and six field blocks in 2011... was 2011 ACWPC All-Academic...scored two goals in an MPSF win at Long Beach State and a goal against UC Irvine in an Oct. 30 victory at Cal...is from Podgorica, Montenegro...has 10 career goals.
2 Blake Kelly:
Sophomore defender/utility has scored two goals in five matches with four assists, three ejections earned, two field blocks and a steal...played in 25 matches last season with 20 steals, four assists, 11 goals, five field blocks and five ejections earned...was 2011 ACWPC and MPSF All-Academic...had a goal against UC Irvine in the first round of the 2011 MPSF Tournament...scored goals in MPSF victories Oct. 7 at UCLA and Oct. 21 versus Pepperdine at Cal...has 13 career goals.
10 Colin Mulcahy:
Redshirt freshman attacker had six goals in five matches at the Princeton Invitational...added six assists, five ejections earned, two steals and an ejection earned.
1 Justin Parsons:
Senior goalie and team captain had 31 saves in four matches at the Princeton Invitational, including 12 saves Sept. 8 versus Bucknell...had 206 saves in 23 matches (705 minutes of action, 9.0 saves per match) last season, earning second-team All-America honors...was also second-team All-MPSF and was selected 2011 Team MVP...notched 22 saves during the 2011 MPSF Tournament...had a top match Nov. 19 at Stanford in the Big Splash, collecting 15 saves with four steals...was named the Oct. 10 MPSF Player of the Week...was a 2010 third-team ACWPC All-American and second-team All-MPSF...has 504 saves in 61 career matches.
6 Matt Russell:
Sophomore center had four goals in five matches at the Princeton Invitational...added five steals with an assist, an ejection earned and a field block...has seven career goals...redshirted in 2010.
11 Aleksa Saponjic:
Sophomore attacker had three goals in two matches at the Princeton Invitational with six assists and two steals...was third on the 2011 squad with 30 goals in 22 matches with 22 assists, 18 steals, nine ejections earned and six field blocks...earned 2011 honorable mention All-America honors as a freshman and helped his native Serbia to a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics...was also a 2011 ACWPC All-Academic selection...notched two goals against Stanford in the 2011 MPSF Tournament...led the Bears with three goals in the Nov. 19 Big Splash at Stanford...scored in all eight MPSF matches with a team-high three goals at Long Beach State and two goals apiece versus UC Irvine and USC...won a gold medal at the World University Games in the summer of 2011 along with older brother Luka, a standout at Cal from 2008-11...has 33 career goals.
15 Max Schell:
True freshman center had three goals in five matches at the Princeton Invitational...added a team-high eight ejections earned along with five steals, three assists and a field block.
5 Perry Short:
A left-handed junior attacker from Cottesloe, Australia who scored six goals in five matches at the Princeton Invitational...also notched seven steals with six assists and two field blocks...played in 21 matches with nine goals, eight steals, 13 assists and two ejections earned last season... was a 2011 MPSF All-Academic selection...scored a goal in the Nov. 19 Big Splash at Stanford...has 26 career goals.
7 Collin Smith:
Junior attacker was named the Sept. 10 MPSF Player of the Week after scoring 19 goals in five matches with eight assists, seven steals, three field blocks and two ejections earned...leads the MPSF with 3.80 goals per game...played in 22 matches with 26 goals, 20 steals, 28 assists, nine ejections earned and four field blocks, earning 2011 honorable mention All-America honors...scored three goals during the 2011 MPSF Tournament...nailed the match-winning goals in the Bears' MPSF victories at UC Santa Barbara and versus Pacific...also notched a team-high three goals versus Stanford during the Nov. 19 Big Splash...has 61 career goals.