Oct. 10, 2010

 

Courtesy of Cal Athletics

The No. 4-ranked Cal men's water polo team came back from a 4-2 first period deficit by shutting out No. 2-ranked UCLA, 3-0, in the second period on the way to an 11-8 victory Saturday (Oct. 9) in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation league match at Spieker Aquatics Complex. The Golden Bears were paced by three goals from junior standout Ivan Rackov, and two goals apiece from senior Zach White, junior Luka Saponjic and freshman Max Bergeson. Cal sophomore goalie Justin Parsons registered an impressive 13 saves, including eight saves in the second half.

The Bears' victory Saturday helped avenge a 10-7 loss to UCLA in last year's MPSF Tournament final, which knocked Cal out of the 2009 NCAA Tournament. It was the conference opener for both teams.

After the Bruins had scored the last three goals of the first period to take a 4-2 lead, the Bears defense stiffened in the second quarter and Cal received a goal from newcomer Bergeson and a pair of goals from Rackov. The Bears continued their 5-0 run with the first two goals of the second half on a two-meter backhand from senior White and another goal from Bergeson. UCLA countered with the next two scores of the match to get within 7-6 after Aimone Barabino knocked in a shot with 7:05 in the fourth period.

Yet, almost immediately after Barabino scored, White added his second goal of the contest with a strong move from two-meters to put Cal up, 8-6. From there Saponjic and Rackov increased the Bears' cushion with two six-on-five goals to up the score to 10-6 on the way to the 11-8 win.

"We gave them too many opportunities in the first period and got behind," said Cal coach Kirk Everist. "But, we then settled down and play good team water polo and were able to shut them out in the second quarter. UCLA did come back to get back within one, but Zach White's goal was huge in the fourth period. It stopped their momentum and it rallied us. That was a really big goal and nice for our senior center."

The Bears will next travel to Los Angeles to play No. 1-ranked and defending national champion USC on Saturday, Oct. 16 at 10 a.m. at McDonald's Swim Stadium on the USC campus. Earlier this season, Cal fell to the Trojans, 12-11, Sept. 19 during the NorCal Invitational at Spieker Aquatics Complex.

California 11, UCLA 8

No. 2 UCLA 4 0 1 3 - 8

No. 4 California 2 3 2 4 - 11

UCLA Goals: Cullen Hennessy 2, Chris Wendt 2, Ben Hohl, Griffin White, Aimone Barabino, Clay Jorth

UCLA Saves: James Hartshorne 10

California Goals: Ivan Rackov 3, Zach White 2, Max Bergeson 2, Luka Saponjic 2, Cory Nasoff, Brian Dudley

California Saves: Justin Parsons 13