Bears Finish Weekend 2-2
BERKELEY - The California men's water polo team (2-2, 2-2 MPSF) defeated No. 1 USC, 12-9, before falling to No. 3 UCLA, 10-7, on Sunday to finish 2-2 during the opening weekend of action for the 2021 season.
Several Bears set or tied career highs, including Nikolaos Papanikolaou, who tied his career-high of five goals in the matchup vs. USC and added another one in the evening match.
MATCH #1: No. 5 California 12, No. 1 USC 9
The Bears got out to an early lead to start the day, ending the first quarter with a 4-1 advantage over the No. 1 Trojans (2-2, 2-2 MPSF). The teams would go on to tie each of the next three quarters, as USC couldn't fight back from the early deficit.
Cal converted two-of-three penalty shots, with Alika Naone and Sam Untrecht each notching one.
Goalkeeper Adrian Weinberg had a key performance in the match, recording 14 saves and three steals.
Papanikolaou led the Bears with his five goals. Joe Molina finished with two goals and an assist for a career-high three points.
USC was led by Jacob Mercep, who finished with three goals and three assists.
MATCH #2: No. 3 UCLA 10, No. 5 California 7
UCLA (2-2, 2-2 MPSF) pulled ahead early in the evening match, heading into halftime with a 7-3 lead. The Bears couldn't quite complete a comeback attempt in the second half as the Bruins' defense held strong.
Cal goalkeeper Anthony Rethans recorded a career-high 12 saves and added two steals. Offensively, Naone and Molina led the Bears in the effort, notching two goals each.
Jake Cavano led the Bruins with three goals.