Nov. 16, 2012
11-15-12 Cal Men's Water Polo Release
Sun., Nov. 18 at Pacific, Chris Kjeldsen Pool, Stockton, Calif. 12 p.m.
No. 4 Cal (14-7, 4-3) concludes the 2012 regular season with a chance to solidify a No. 3 seed entering the MPSF Tournament when the Golden Bears travel to No. 5 Pacific (12-8, 3-3) for a conference match Sunday at Chris Kjeldsen Pool. Kirk Everist's squad will be looking to avenge an earlier 10-9 overtime loss to the Tigers Sept. 30 at the SoCal Invitational. Cal has won five of its last six matches and four matches in a row. The Bears, featuring 2012 Olympian Aleksa Saponjic and leading scorer and assist man Collin Smith (57 goals, 29 assists), are outscoring opponents, 278-158, 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 2011 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 is now on a four-match winning streak. Saponjic is second behind Smith with 38 goals, while senior captain Marin Balarin is third with 35 goals and leads the squad with 40 ejections earned. Sophomore goalie Jon Sibley has 72 saves in eight matches (9.0 spg). Other top players for the Bears include junior Hunter Gettlefinger with a team-high 38 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 19-4 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.
No. 5 Pacific (12-8, 3-3), coached by James Graham (fifth year), is led by junior Balazs Erdelyi, who is tops in the MPSF with 71 goals in 19 matches (3.74 gpg). In Cal's 10-9 overtime loss to the Tigers at the SoCal Invitational in Santa Barbara, Pacific sophomore Alex Obert scored five goals, including the match-winning goal in the second, three-minute overtime period. The Bears were led by Collin Smith's three goals.
Head Coach Kirk Everist:
A 2004 inductee into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame, Kirk Everist is in his 11th year with a 241-70 mark (.775), 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:
Redshirt freshman attacker has 18 goals in 21 matches with 19 assists, 19 steals, eight ejections earned and three field blocks...had two goals in last match Nov. 11 versus UCSB...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 35 goals in 21 matches (1.67 gpg) with a team-high 40 ejections earned, along with 19 assists, 21 steals and six 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 62 career goals.
1 Michael Boggan:
Junior goalie has 108 saves in 14 matches (364 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 119 career saves.
4 Mason Cox:
Senior attacker has 13 goals in 21 matches with 28 assists (second on the team), 15 steals, nine field blocks and three ejections earned...scored a goal against UCSB in his final home match at Spieker Aquatics...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 29 career goals.
14 Giacomo Cupido:
Junior defender/utility has 10 goals in 19 matches with 22 assists, 21 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 18 goals in 21 matches with a team-high 38 steals along with 22 assists, five ejections earned and 11 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 44 career goals.
16 Mitchell Hamilton:
True freshman attacker has 11 goals in 16 matches...also has 13 steals, eight assists, four 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 six goals in 21 matches with a team-high 12 field blocks along with 17 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 13 career goals.
2 Blake Kelly:
Sophomore defender/utility has scored five goals in 16 matches with nine assists, six ejections earned, three field blocks and 14 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 24 goals in 21 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 third on the team with 26 ejections earned, and has 18 assists, 16 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 21 matches with 18 ejections earned, 11 steals, eight 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 38 goals in 18 matches (2.11 gpg) with 24 assists, 15 steals, 10 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 68 career goals.
15 Max Schell:
True freshman center has nine goals in 21 matches with 29 ejections earned (second on team), 15 steals, 10 assists and five field blocks...had three goals in five matches and a team-high eight ejections earned at the 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 72 saves in eight matches (9.0 spg).
7 Collin Smith:
Junior attacker leads the Bears and is fifth in the MPSF with 57 goals in 21 matches (2.71 gpg)...also has a team-high 29 assists, with 29 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 99 career goals.