Sept. 26, 2012
9-26-12 Cal Men's Water Polo Release
Sat.-Sun., Sept. 29-30 at SoCal Invitational, Dos Pueblos HS, Goleta, Calif. All-Day
Despite having lost three, one-goal matches in a row, No. 4-ranked Cal (7-3, 0-1) is looking forward to competing at the 16-team SoCal Invitational this weekend at Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, Calif. The Golden Bears, featuring 2012 Olympian Aleksa Saponjic and leading scorer Collin Smith (29 goals), will open the tournament Saturday, Sept. 29 at 10:40 a.m. versus No. 14-ranked Air Force. Cal will be looking to get back on the winning track after falling to No. 2-ranked UCLA, 11-10 in overtime, and to host Stanford, 9-8, at the NorCal Invitational; and 7-6 to No. 1-ranked USC last weekend in Los Angeles. The Bears started 5-0 before their last three loses and have outscored opponents, 139-57, this season, including a 19-2 win over Air Force Sept. 15 in the opening match of the NorCal Invite. On Sept. 10, junior attacker Smith earned MPSF POW honors after 19 goals with eight assists, seven steals and three field blocks in Cal's five victories at the Princeton Invitational. Smith joins Saponjic as returning All-Americans from the 2011 squad that finished 22-4 overall and 7-1 in the MPSF. Saponjic was honorable mention All-America as a freshman with 30 goals, 22 assists and 18 steals. Smith was honorable mention All-America as a sophomore with 26 goals, 20 steals and 28 assists, including match-winning goals in MPSF wins over UC Santa Barbara and Pacific.
About the SoCal Invite:
The SoCal Invite features 16 teams all ranked in the Top 20 poll. Pools A and D play Saturday's matches at the Dos Pueblos High School, while Pools B and C compete at UCSB. Pool A consists of No. 1 USC, No. 8 Pacific, No. 9 Long Beach State and No. 19 St. Francis. Pool B includes No. 2 UCLA, No. 7 Pepperdine, No. 9 Loyola Marymount and No. 16 Santa Clara. Pool C has No. 3 Stanford, No. 6 UC Santa Barbara, No. 11 UC San Diego and No. 15 Princeton. Pool D features No. 4 Cal, No. 5 UC Irvine, No. 12 UC Davis and No. 14 Air Force. On Sept. 29, Cal plays Air Force at 10:40 a.m., and if the Bears prevail, they would play the winner of UC Irvine-UC Davis at 5:20 p.m. If Cal wins both of its matches Saturday, it would play Sunday (Sept. 30) at 10:40 p.m. versus the winner of Pool A (USC, Pacific, Long Beach State, St. Francis). If Cal wins that semifinal, it plays for the championship at 5:20 p.m. Sunday. Last season at the SoCal Invite in Long Beach, the Bears upended then No. 2-ranked UCLA, 8-4, in the semifinals; before falling to Stanford, 10-9 in overtime, in the championship match.
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 seven losses in the last two years, all have been 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 15-2 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 this season (Sept. 7 at Princeton and Sept. 23 at USC on ESPNU; and Oct. 6 versus UCLA,12:30 p.m., and Oct. 20 versus Stanford, Oct. 20, TBA, at Spieker Aquatics).
Saponjic's Olympic Experience:
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 were members of the USA team that won a silver medal at the 1988 Olympics. In the bronze medal match, Saponjic, the second youngest player for Serbia at 20, had a steal and won the sprint in the second and third quarters. He finished the Olympics with a goal in a 21-7 win over Great Britain, and won seven sprints with four steals, two block shots and one assist.
Head Coach Kirk Everist:
A 2004 inductee into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame, Kirk Everist is in his 11th year with a 234-66 mark (.780), 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...has 10 goals in nine matches with 11 assists, 10 steals, two ejections earned and a field block...scored three goals at the NorCal Invitational...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 19 goals in 10 matches (1.90 gpg) with a team-high 22 ejections earned, along with 10 assists, six steals and two field blocks...had five goals at the NorCal Invitational...had a team-high four goals Sept. 8 against Bucknell...scored 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 goal versus Stanford in the Nov. 19 Big Splash...has 46 career goals.
1 Michael Boggan:
Junior goalie has 53 saves in nine matches (206 minutes of action)...gathered 39 saves at the NorCal Invitational, including 11 saves in the semifinal match versus UCLA...also notched 10 saves Sept. 15 versus Air Force...had eight saves during the Sept. 8 Harvard match...has 64 career saves.
4 Mason Cox:
Senior attacker has nine goals in 10 matches with 14 assists, eight steals, team-high five field blocks and an ejection earned...had four goals at the NorCal Invitational and five goals in five matches at the Princeton Invitational...also tallied a team-high eight assists at Princeton Sept. 7...has 25 career goals.
14 Giacomo Cupido:
Junior defender/utility has not scored this season but has eight assists, eight steals, two field blocks and two ejections earned...competed in two matches at the Princeton Invitational, tallying four assists, two field blocks, one steal and one ejection earned...last season played in 25 matches with 36 steals, 25 assists, 10 goals, eight field blocks and five ejections earned...was 2011 ACWPC and MPSF All-Academic...had a goal against UCLA and two goals against Stanford in the 2011 MPSF Tournament...has 19 career goals...is from Santa Margherita Ligure, Genova, Italy.
9 Hunter Gettelfinger:
Junior attacker has scored eight goals in 10 matches with a team-high 14 steals along with eight assists, four ejections earned and three field blocks...had a goal last weekend at USC...scored three goals at the NorCal Invitational...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 34 career goals.
16 Mitchell Hamilton:
True freshman attacker had four goals in five matches at the NorCal Invitational...has also tallied five steals, four assists and an ejection earned...notched two goals in the Bears' Sept. 15 victory over UC Irvine.
13 Luka Ivanovic:
Sophomore attacker has scored four goals in 10 matches with a team-high five field blocks along with four assists and six steals...in 2011 had seven goals in 25 matches with 15 steals, two assists and six field blocks...was 2011 ACWPC All-Academic...is from Podgorica, Montenegro...has 11 career goals.
2 Blake Kelly:
Sophomore defender/utility has scored two goals in 10 matches with six assists, four ejections earned, three field blocks and four steals...last season played in 25 matches 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 has 14 goals in 10 matches, including a pair of first half goals last weekend at No. 1-ranked USC...also has 10 ejections earned with nine assists, seven steals and three field blocks...had six goals at the NorCal Invitational, including a team-high three goals Sept. 15 versus Air Force...had six goals in five matches at the Princeton Invitational.
6 Matt Russell:
Sophomore center has 10 goals in 10 matches with nine ejections earned, seven steals, three assists and a field block...notched a goal last week at USC and scored five goals at the NorCal Invitational...had four goals in five matches at the Princeton Invitational...has 13 career goals...redshirted in 2010.
11 Aleksa Saponjic:
Sophomore attacker has 13 goals in seven matches with seven assists, six steals, three ejections earned and a field block...had two goals last weekend at No. 1-ranked USC...tallied eight goals at the NorCal Invitational, including a team-high three goals Sept. 16 versus UCLA....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 43 career goals.
15 Max Schell:
True freshman center has five goals in 10 matches with 12 ejections earned, 10 steals, three assists and a field block...had three goals in five matches at the Princeton Invitational...added a team-high eight ejections earned at Princeton Invite.
1 Jon Sibley:
Sophomore goalie was outstanding Sept. 23 at No. 1-ranked USC in his first collegiate match, recording 12 saves with a steal and an assist.
7 Collin Smith:
Junior attacker leads the Bears and is sixth in the MPSF with 29 goals in 10 matches (2.90 gpg)...also has a team-high 15 assists and 15 steals with five field blocks and four ejections earned...scored 10 goals at the NorCal Invitational...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 at the Princeton Invitational...last season 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 71 career goals.