July 31, 2012
BERKELEY - Golden Bear Caitlin Leverenz earned a bronze medal in the women's 200-meter individual medley to highlight Cal's action Tuesday at the Olympics in London. Leverenz, who completed her junior season in Berkeley this past year, becomes the fifth Bear to secure a medal at the games, joining fellow swimmers Dana Vollmer, Nathan Adrian, Natalie Coughlin and Jessica Hardy.
Adrian looks to add to the medal count when he takes to the water in the final of the men's 100 freestyle Wednesday after qualifying second Tuesday.
Earlier in the games, Vollmer set a world record in capturing gold in the 100 butterfly, while Adrian claimed a silver in the men's 400 free relay, and Coughlin and Hardy were part of the USA's women's 400 free relay that won a bronze medal.
In other action Tuesday, Alex Morgan provided an assist in the USA's 1-0 women's soccer win over Korea DPR; John Mann (USA) and Aleksa Saponjic (Serbia) scored goals men's water polo victories for their native countries; and rower Julie Nichols won her repechage in women's lightweight double sculls to reach the Olympic semifinal.
The 7-3 center from Shanghai, who lettered for the Cal men's basketball team for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons, played just under four minutes in Tuesday's game against Russia. He recorded one defensive rebound and one blocked shot in his limited time on the floor. Andrei Kirilenko led the way for the Russia with 16 points in the victory.
China, which dropped a 97-81 decision to Spain in its Olympics opener, owns a 0-2 record in Group B play with its next game scheduled for Thursday against Australia at 3:15 a.m. PT.
Golden Bear action on the rowing course picks up on Wednesday, which includes the gold medal race in the men's eight. The U.S. team, coached by Cal men's coach Mike Teti and featuring Golden Bear alumnus Zach Vlahos as the coxswain, will race alongside the boat from the Netherlands, which features alum Olivier Siegelaar. In addition, current Golden Bear Kara Kohler will go for gold in the women's quad sculls, and Canada's Scott Frandsen will hit the water for the semifinals of the men's coxless pair.
Morgan, who had a pair of goals in the USA's opening win over France, produced again with an assist on a goal by Abby Wambach in the Americans' 1-0 victory over Korea DPR in front of 29,522 fans inside Old Trafford in Manchester. With the victory, the USA cruised into the quarterfinal round, capturing the Group G title and gaining all nine points in the group stage for the first time in its Olympic history.
Over in Coventry, Hassett's New Zealand squad punched its ticket to the quarterfinals with a 3-1 victory over Cameroon Tuesday evening at City of Coventry Stadium. The Cal midfielder, who will be a senior with the Golden Bears this fall, started for the Football Ferns and played all 90 minutes in the victory.
Morgan and Hassett, teammates at Cal during the 2009 and 2010 seasons, will now square off against each other in the quarterfinals as the United States takes on New Zealand on Friday at St. James' Park in Newcastle. The match will be televised live on the NBC Sports Network at 6:30 a.m. PT.
Adrian, who earlier swam the lead-off leg of the U.S. silver medal-winning 400 free relay, won his Tuesday morning heat of the 100 free with a time of 48.19, which was the fastest mark of the session. In the semifinals, Adrian captured his heat with a mark of 47.97 and now has the second fastest time, behind only Australia's James Magnussen's 47.63, entering Wednesday's final.
Adrian's former Cal teammate, Graeme Moore of South Africa, placed seventh in the morning heat of the 100 free with a time of 48.29, while veteran Olympian Dominik Meichtry of Switzerland was fifth in his morning heat with a time of 48.95. Moore and Meichtry did not advance.
Another former Cal star swimming on Tuesday was Henrique Barbosa of Brazil, who placed sixth in his heat of 200 breaststroke with a mark of 2:12.05, failing to advance. Barbosa was the NCAA individual champion in both the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke in 2006.
This has been a career year for Leverenz, who becomes the 12th Cal product to win an Olympic medal in women's swimming. During her junior season in Berkeley, Leverenz received the Honda Sports Award as the top female collegiate swimmer after winning NCAA titles in the 200 IM and 200 breaststroke and helping the Bears to the national team championship.
Men's Water Polo
Mann, who led the Bears to the 2006 NCAA title and was the recipient of the Peter J. Cutino Award as the nation's top collegiate player, tallied a six-on-five advantage goal with 31 seconds left in the first period to tie the match at 3-3. He scored when he recovered and tipped in a missed shot near the goal and ended up playing 9:42 minutes of the contest.
Saponjic, a 2011 honorable mention All-American as a freshman for Cal, scored a goal on a six-on-five advantage and had a steal for Serbia in 13.27 minutes of action. He also won one of two sprints he participated in.
The United States (2-0) will next play Great Britain (0-2), while Serbia (2-0) takes on Montenegro (1-1) on Thursday.
In what could be a key Olympic contest, the two Bears will face each other on Saturday when Mann's USA squad plays Saponjic's Serbian team in another preliminary match of Group B. The Americans defeated Montenegro, 8-7, and Serbia defeated defending gold medal champion Hungary, 14-10, in first round play on July 29.