Bears Ranked No. 3 In Preseason Poll
The Cal men's water polo team is ranked No. 3 in the preseason CWPA Top-20.
The Bears collected 90 points in the initial poll, ranking behind UCLA and USC and just ahead of Stanford. It's Cal's highest preseason ranking since also landing in the No. 3 spot to begin the 2018 season.
The Bears return almost their entire roster from last season, when Cal advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Championship and finished the year ranked in a tie for third nationally. Among the Bears' returners is junior center Nikolaos Papanikolaou, the reigning MPSF Player of the Year and ACWPC First Team All-American.
Papanikolaou is also one of three finalists for the prestigious Peter J. Cutino Award, given annually to the nation's top men's and women's NCAA water polo player. The winners of the award from last season will be announced Thursday.
Cal also returns Second Team All-Americans Nikos Delagrammatikas and Jack Deely to this season's team.
The Bears open the season this weekend at the Navy Open, where they will face off against No. 19 Navy, No. 17 Bucknell, No. 14 Princeton and George Washington.