Nov. 22, 2008

 

Courtesy of Cal Athletics

BERKELEY - Sophomore utility man Brian Dudley scored off of a nice assist from senior captain Trent Calder with 53 seconds left in the match, but it was too little, too late as the No. 4-ranked Cal men's water polo team lost to No. 3 Stanford, 9-8, in The Big Splash Saturday at Spieker Aquatics Complex. The Golden Bears dropped to 17-7 overall and 3-4 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, while the Cardinal improved to 22-4 and 6-2 in MPSF play.

Junior Drac Wigo scored the key goal for Stanford with 1:21 left in the match that gave the Cardinal a 9-7 advantage. Cal freshman standout Ivan Rackov had tied the match, 7-7, at the beginning of the fourth period when he nailed a long shot past Cardinal goalie Jimmie Sandman. But Peter Sefton gave Stanford an 8-7 lead with 4:32 left in the fourth period when he was able to gather in the ball and score when a shot deflected off of Cal goalie Jacob McIntosh's arms. From there, Drac Wigo's third goal of the match proved to be the match-winner as the Cardinal were able to run out the clock after Dudley's score.

Drac Wigo paced Stanford with three goals and Alex Pulido had two goals in the third period for the Cardinal. Cal was paced by Calder's three goals and Rackov notched two goals. Both Sandman and McIntosh finished with nine saves at the goal.

The Big Splash was the final home match for Calder and fellow senior captain Frank Reynolds. Both Calder and Reynolds have been instrumental in the Bears winning NCAA titles in 2006 and 2007. Since 1999, the Big Splash has also been played for the Steve Heaston Trophy, which is given to the annual Big Splash winner. Stanford now holds a 6-4 advantage in the series named after the former Cal men's water polo coach who won three national titles for the Bears from 1989-98 and passed away in 1999.

Besides Calder and Rackov, other scorers for the Bears included freshman Luka Saponjic, who opened the match with a goal at 6:26 in the first period, junior All-American Spencer Warden in the third period, and Dudley. Warden also led Cal with three steals, Warden and Dudley had two ejections earned apiece, and Saponjic paced the Bears with three assists.

Cal will next travel to Pacific on Sunday, Nov. 23 at noon for its final MPSF match. The Bears then compete at the MPSF Championship, Nov. 28-30 at Pepperdine University's Raleigh Runnels Memorial Pool in Malibu.