Six goals from Smith lead No. 7 Cal past No. 4 Stanford in Big Splash
BERKELEY, Calif. -- Behind junior Collin Smith's match-high six goals and a 4-0 shutout in the second period, No. 7 Cal upended No. 4 Stanford 14-8 in the Big Splash on Saturday at the Spieker Aquatic Complex. The Golden Bears, who won their first MPSF match of the season and improved their overall record to 10-6, also captured the Steve Heaston Trophy for the second year in a row.
Stanford fell to 8-4 overall and 2-2 in league play. Earlier the Cardinal had defeated Cal 9-8 on Sept. 16 at the NorCal Tournament at Stanford. Since the first battle for the Steve Heaston Trophy in 1999, both teams have now won seven matches apiece. The Steve Heaston Trophy is named after the former Cal water polo coach (1989-98, three NCAA titles) who passed away in 1999.
"There have been some great performances in Big Splash history, and Collin's six goals today is definitely one of them," Cal coach Kirk Everist said, "but it also was a great team effort for us. Jon Sibley had a very good day in the cage [with eight saves] and we shot the ball very well. It was a much needed win for us."
Stanford took a 4-3 lead after the first period behind three Alex Bowen goals and a goal by Connor Cleary, while Cal had kept the contest close with a goal from sophomore Matt Russell and a pair of scores from junior Giacomo Cupido.
However, the second period was all Cal as it shut down the Cardinal offense and got goals from Smith, senior Mason Cox, sophomore Aleksa Saponjic and sophomore Blake Kelly, to take a 7-4 lead at the half.
Cal continued to roll in the second half, outscoring Stanford 7-4 in the final 16 minutes. Smith was a scoring force with three goals in the third period, including back-to-back goals with 58 seconds and 32 second left in the quarter. Senior Marin Balarin added goals in each of the third and fourth periods, while Smith scored two more times in the fourth period to now lead the team with 46 goals in 16 matches this season (2.8 goals per game).