Nov. 8, 2012
11-8-12 Cal Men's Water Polo Release
Sat., Nov. 10 Santa Clara, Spieker Aquatics Complex, Berkeley 10 a.m.
Sun., Nov. 11 UC Santa Barbara, Spieker Aquatics Complex, Berkeley 12 p.m.
No. 4 Cal (12-7, 3-3) will be wrapping up its 2012 home slate this weekend when the Golden Bears host No. 18 Santa Clara (9-16) and No. 4 UC Santa Barbara (15-7, 1-4) at Spieker Aquatics Complex. Kirk Everist's squad will also be honoring its two seniors - Marin Balarin and Mason Cox - on Sunday's Senior Day. Cal is fresh off of winning two MPSF matches on the road last weekend, upending UC Irvine, 12-10, and Pepperdine, 12-9. The Bears, featuring 2012 Olympian Aleksa Saponjic and leading scorer Collin Smith (53 goals), are outscoring opponents, 250-141, this season despite losing seven matches. Smith has earned the MPSF POW honors twice this year, Oct. 22 after scoring six goals in an MPSF win over Stanford and Sept. 10 after scoring 19 goals in Cal's five victories at the Princeton Invite. He joins Saponjic as a 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, while 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.
The Bears have been stung by six one-goal losses this season (three in overtime), including a 10-9 sudden death overtime loss to UCLA Oct. 6. However, Cal rebounded with a 14-8 win over Stanford Oct. 20 to capture the Steve Heaston Trophy (named after the former Cal coach who passed away in 1999) and have now won three of the last four matches. Saponjic is second behind Smith with 33 goals, while senior captain Balarin is third with 32 goals and leads the squad with 38 ejections earned. Sophomore goalie Jon Sibley has 59 saves in six matches (9.8 spg). Other top players include junior Hunter Gettelfinger with a team-high 35 steals and sophomore Luka Ivanovic with a team-best 12 field blocks.
Cal's 2012 Scenario:
Of Cal's 11 losses in the last two years, 10 have been by one goal, including a 9-8 sudden death overtime loss to four-time defending NCAA champion USC at Cal in 2011, and a 7-6 loss to the Trojans Sept. 23 of this season in Los Angeles...in the last two years, the Bears have gone 18-4 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 have been 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 on Pac-12 Networks).
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 during the tournament with four steals, two block shots and one assist.
Noting Santa Clara and UC Santa Barbara:
No. 18 Santa Clara (9-16) is coached by Keith Wilbur (10th year) and led by junior Tucker Carlson's 45 goals. No. 4 UC Santa Barbara (15-7, 1-4), coached by Wolf Wigo (eighth year), is led by junior Evan Dellinger's 40 goals in 20 matches (2.0 gpg).
Head Coach Kirk Everist:
A 2004 inductee into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame, Kirk Everist is in his 11th year with a 239-70 mark (.773), 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 16 goals in 19 matches with 19 assists, 18 steals, seven ejections earned and two field blocks...had a goal versus Long Beach State Oct. 27 and UCLA Oct. 6...notched four goals and had five assists at the SoCal Invite...scored three goals at the NorCal Invitational...had seven goals at Princeton Invite 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 is third on the team with 32 goals in 19 matches (1.68 gpg) with a team-high 38 ejections earned, along with 17 assists, 20 steals and four field blocks...had two goals in Oct. 20 match versus Stanford and led Cal with three goals Oct. 6 versus UCLA...had 10 ejections earned, eight steals with four goals at the SoCal Invite and five goals at the NorCal Invite...had a team-high four goals Sept. 8 against Bucknell...scored 19 goals in 25 matches last season with 28 ejections earned...was 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...has 59 career goals.
1 Michael Boggan:
Junior goalie has 97 saves in 13 matches (340 minutes of action)...had 44 saves in four matches at the SoCal Invite, including a career-high 12 saves versus Pacific...gathered 39 saves at the NorCal Invite, including 11 saves in the semifinal match versus UCLA...has 108 career saves.
4 Mason Cox:
Senior attacker has 12 goals in 19 matches with 25 assists (tied for first on the team), 14 steals, nine field blocks and two ejections earned...had four goals at the NorCal Invite and five goals in five matches at the Princeton Invite...also tallied a team-high eight assists at Princeton Sept. 7...has 28 career goals.
14 Giacomo Cupido:
Junior defender/utility has 10 goals in 17 matches with 21 assists, 17 steals, seven field blocks and two ejections earned...had two goals Oct. 20 versus Stanford and a goal Oct. 6 versus UCLA...notched six goals at the SoCal Invite with five assists and four steals...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...is from Santa Margherita Ligure, Genova, Italy...has 29 career goals.
9 Hunter Gettelfinger:
Junior attacker has 17 goals in 19 matches with a team-high 35 steals along with 19 assists, five ejections earned and 10 field blocks...led Cal with four goals Nov. 1 at UC Irvine...had a goal and four steals Oct. 6 versus UCLA...had four goals, seven assists and six steals at the SoCal Invite and a goal at USC Sept. 23...last season had 28 steals, 16 assists, eight ejections earned, a team-high 10 field blocks and 12 goals...was 2011 ACWPC and MPSF All-Academic...has 43 career goals.
16 Mitchell Hamilton:
True freshman attacker has nine goals in 14 matches...also has 13 steals, seven assists, two ejections earned and four field blocks...had four goals in both the SoCal and NorCal Invitationals...notched two goals in the Bears' Sept. 15 victory over UC Irvine and two goals in the Sept. 30 win over Pepperdine.
13 Luka Ivanovic:
Sophomore attacker has scored five goals in 19 matches with a team-high 12 field blocks along with 16 steals, eight assists and two ejections earned...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 12 career goals.
2 Blake Kelly:
Sophomore defender/utility has scored five goals in 14 matches with nine assists, five ejections earned, three field blocks and 10 steals...notched two goals in last match, Nov. 2 at Pepperdine...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...has 16 career goals.
10 Colin Mulcahy:
Redshirt freshman attacker has 22 goals in 19 matches, including a pair of first half goals at No. 1-ranked USC Sept. 23...notched two goals Oct. 27 versus Long Beach State...also is second on the team with 24 ejections earned, and has 15 assists, 13 steals and six field blocks...had four goals at the SoCal Invite and six goals at the NorCal Invite, 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 15 goals in 19 matches with 17 ejections earned, 11 steals, seven assists and a field block...scored in last match Nov. 2 at Pepperdine and Oct. 20 versus Stanford...notched a goal at USC Sept. 23...scored two goals at the SoCal Invite and five goals at the NorCal Invite...had four goals in five matches at the Princeton Invitational...has 18 career goals.
11 Aleksa Saponjic:
Sophomore attacker has 33 goals in 16 matches with 21 assists, 13 steals, eight ejections earned and five field blocks...notched a team-high five goals Oct. 27 versus Long Beach State...had a goal Oct. 20 versus Stanford and two goals Oct. 6 versus UCLA...tallied nine goals with five assists and five steals at the SoCal Invite, including four goals versus Pepperdine...had two goals at No. 1-ranked USC Sept. 23 and eight goals at the NorCal Invite, including three goals Sept. 16 versus UCLA...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 Serbia to a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics...was also a 2011 ACWPC All-Academic selection...scored in all eight MPSF matches last season...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 63 career goals.
15 Max Schell:
True freshman center has seven goals in 19 matches with 24 ejections earned, 13 steals, nine assists and five field blocks...had three goals in five matches at the Princeton Invite...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...had 11 saves Oct. 27 versus Long Beach State and currently has 59 saves in six matches (9.8 spg).
7 Collin Smith:
Junior attacker leads the Bears and is fourth in the MPSF with 53 goals in 19 matches (2.79 gpg)...also has a team-high 25 assists, with 28 steals, nine field blocks and 10 ejections earned...had five goals Nov. 2 at Pepperdine and six goals Oct. 20 versus Stanford, earning MPSF POW honors...scored 10 goals at both the SoCal and NorCal Invites...was Sept. 10 MPSF POW after 19 goals in five matches with eight assists, seven steals and three field blocks at the Princeton Invite...last season had 26 goals, 20 steals, 28 assists, nine ejections earned and four field blocks in 22 matches, earning 2011 honorable mention All-America honors...scored three goals during the 2011 MPSF Tournament...nailed match-winning goals in 2011 MPSF victories at UC Santa Barbara and versus Pacific...has 95 career goals.