Oct. 24, 2009


Courtesy of Cal

BERKELEY, CALIF.  The No. 2-ranked Cal men's water polo team (14-4, 2-1) was able to break away from a 6-5 deficit by scoring eight of the matches next nine goals on the way to a 13-7 victory over No. 5-ranked Pepperdine (7-9, 1-3) in an MPSF match Saturday morning at Spieker Aquatics Complex. The Golden Bears were led by sophomore Luka Saponjics three goals and 11 saves from sophomore goalie Wil Toppen. Senior captains Spencer Warden and Mike Sample, and junior Brian Dudley added two goals apiece.

The match was nip and tuck in the first half as the two teams traded goals through the first and second periods. Dudley closed the first quarter with a goal with seven seconds left in the period, and freshman Spencer White closed the first half with a last second goal on a counterattack to make the contest, 5-5, at the half.

Pepperdine notched the first goal of the second half on a score by Jacob Young with 7:10 in the third quarter to give the Waves a 6-5 advantage. From that point on it was all Cal. Warden scored a goal at 6:46 in third period to tie the contest, 6-6. Then Dudley gave the Bears their first lead of the match, 7-6, on a lob shot over Wave goalie Tommy OConnell with 6:08 in the third quarter.

Cal continued its onslaught by outscoring Pepperdine, 6-1, the rest of the way with Saponjic scoring two of his three goals during the Bears run. Sophomore Ivan Rackov, who entered the match as Cals leading scorer with 36 goals, didnt score against the Waves, but led the Bears with five assists. Sophomore Cory Nasoff tallied a goal and paced Cal with five steals. Brett Auer led Pepperdine with three goals and goalie OConnell finished with eight saves.

We were able to finally pull away in the fourth quarter, said Cal coach Kirk Everist. Pepperdine started out strong, but we were able to weather the storm and adjust in the second half. The guys did well adjusting to their defense and we started getting good looks at two-meter.

The Bears will next host UC Irvine in another MPSF match on Saturday, Oct. 31 at 12 p.m. at Spieker Aquatics Complex.

No. 5 Pepperdine      2      3       1       1    -   7

No. 2 Cal                   2      3       3      5    -   13