No. 5 Bears Look To Stay Unbeaten Vs. No. 9 UCSB
NO. 9 UC SANTA BARBARA (2-0) AT NO. 5 CAL (4-0)
SATURDAY, MARCH 6 | 11 A.M. PT | SPIEKER AQUATICS COMPLEX | BERKELEY, CALIF..
The No. 5 Cal women's water polo team looks to keep its unbeaten streak to begin the season intact when its hosts No. 9 UC Santa Barbara on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Spieker Aquatics Complex. Under Pac-12 Conference guidance and local public health protocols in Alameda and San Joaquin counties, no fans are permitted to attend. The Bears are coming off an impressive 19-8 route of No. 16 San Jose State in which 10 different players scored and they held the Spartans scoreless for over five minutes on three separate occasions. Cal has outscored its opponents by an average of 10.3 goals per game during its four victories so far this season.
WHITNEY NAMED MPSF NEWCOMER OF THE WEEK
Cal freshman Reagan Whitney was named the MPSF Newcomer of the Week on Tuesday for her performance during the Bears' victory over San Jose State. Whitney had three goals and two steals in the win - her second consecutive hat trick. Whitney leads Cal with eight goals and shares the team lead with six steals this season.
Junior Elli Protopapas has played at an All-American level through the first four games of the season. She leads the team with 12 points (five goals, seven assists) and also has a co-team high six steals. Protopapas was a member of the 2018 MPSF All-Newcomer Team as a freshman and was fourth on the team as a sophomore with 31 goals. She sat out the 2020 season to train with the Greek National Team.
Cal's eight-member freshmen class has become an integral part of the team's success immediately, with the group responsible for 39.7% of the Bears' scoring so far (27 combined goals). Reagan Whitney leads the team with eight goals while fellow freshman Maryn Dempsey is tied for second with seven. Whitney is also tied for the team lead with six steals. Dempsey and Mallory Reynoso were Cal's two goal-scorers in overtime during the Bears' 11-9 win over No. 11 Fresno State on Feb. 20.
BRI BEING BRI
Two-time All-American Brigit Mulder continues to be one of the most feared scorers in the college game. She has six goals in three games, despite sitting out long stretches of games in which the Bears' had a commanding lead. Mulder also has five earned exclusions, three assists and three steals. Mulder had a trick in Cal's 11-9 overtime victory against Fresno State, including the equalizer with five seconds to go in regulation. Mulder was named the MPSF Player of the Week for her performance against the Bulldogs.
OLYMPIC QUALIFICATION UPDATE
Former Cal four-time All-American Anna "Nusi" Illes took center stage last month, helping Hungary win the Olympic Qualification Tournament. Illes scored nine goals during the tournament, aiding Hungary to nab an automatic berth to the Olympics when it qualified for the championship match. In the finals, Hungary defeated The Netherlands, which also earned a bid to the Summer Games. Senior Kitty Lynn Joustra was scheduled to compete for The Netherlands at the tournament but suffered an injury shortly before the event and was unable to play. Cal alum Dora Antal, a fellow four-time All-American and the Bears' all-time leading scorer, was an alternate for Hungary.
TRIO OF BEARS LEAD CANADA TO OLYMPICS
Senior-to-be Emma Wright and alums Kindred Paul and Kelly McKee helped Team Canada qualify for the Olympics by advancing to the championship match of the 2019 Pan American Games. Wright, a three-time All-American who ranks ninth on the program's all-time scoring list with 154 career goals, took the 2020 season off to train with the Canadian National Team and is doing the same this season since the Olympics were suspended for a year. Paul and McKee were both All-Americans at Cal.
ABOUT NO. 9 UC SANTA BARBARA
• The Gauchos opened the season with a pair of wins over No. 17 San Diego State
• UCSB head coach Serela Kay earned her 100th career win against the Aztecs
• JR Amanda Legaspi is the Gauchos' leading returning scorer (18 goals)
• CAL ALL-TIME VS. UC SANTA BARBARA: 33-1