No. 3 Bears Commence Season At Navy Open
NO. 3 CAL AT NAVY OPEN
LEJEUNE HALL | ANNAPOLIS, MD
SATURDAY, SEPT. 4
No. 19 Navy vs. No. 3 Cal | 6:15 a.m. PT
No. 17 Bucknell vs. No. 3 Cal | 11:15 a.m. PT
SUNDAY, SEPT. 5
No. 14 Princeton vs. No. 3 Cal | 5 a.m. PT
George Washington vs. No. 3 Cal | 10 a.m. PT
The No. 3 Cal men's water polo team opens the 2021 fall season this weekend with a quartet of games at the Navy Open. The Golden Bears will meet No. 19 Navy and No. 17 Bucknell on Saturday followed by No. 14 Princeton and George Washington. The Bears return virtually the entire roster from last year's team that advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Championships and finished the season ranked No. 3 in the nation.Highlighting the returning group is junior Nikolaos Papanikolaou, the defending MPSF Player of the Year and an ACWPC First Team All-American.
Junior center Nikolaos Papanikolaou is one of the nation's top returning players after taking MPSF Player of the Year honors last season as well as ACWPC First Team All-American honors. Papanikolaou was also one of three finalists for the annual Peter J. Cutino Award, given annually to the top NCAA men's and women's player. Papanikolaou is also an outstanding student, having earned ACWPC All-Academic Superior recognition, as well as spots on the MPSF All-Academic Team and the Pac-12 Spring Academic Honor roll last season.
Cal head coach Kirk Everist enters the season needing just nine victories to reach 400 for his career. Now in his 20th season at the helm, Everist has compiled a career record of 391-123. He was named the MPSF Coach of the Year last season for the second time in his career and has led the Bears to three NCAA titles, most recently in 2016. Everist was a three-time All-American as a player for Cal and went on to play for Team USA twice in the Summer Olympics.
The Bears currently have five student-athletes competing at the 2021 FINA Junior World Championship in Prague, Czech Republic. Junior goalie Adrian Weinberg, junior attacker Sam Untrecht and sophomore center George Avakian are all representing Team USA while freshmen Roberto Valera and Max Casabella are playing for Spain. The tournament runs through Sunday, and the quintet is expected to rejoin the team after that.
ALL-AMERICANS DELAGRAMMATIKAS, DEELY RETURN
In addition to Papanikolaou, the Bears have two other returners who received ACWPC All-American recognition last season. Seniors Nikos Delagrammatikas and Jack Deely each garnered Second Team honors after helping Cal to the semifinals of the NCAA Championships. Delagrammatikas will also serve as team captain for the second year in a row.
Junior goalie Adrian Weinberg enters his third year as Cal's full-time starter after earning All-MPSF Second Team honors last season when he led the conference with 10.3 saves per game. Weinberg, who was also named to the MPSF All-Academic Team, also ranked fourth in the conference with a .496 save percentage.
Cal will host the MPSF Invitational Sept. 24-26, a 14-team tournament featuring the best squads in the country. Games will be held at both Spieker Aquatics Complex and Legends Aquatic Center. Ticket information is available at CalBears.com.
ABOUT NO. 19 NAVY
• SR Isaac Salinas is a two-time ACWPC All-American
• JR Jake Altmayer earned All-Mid-Atlantic Conference-East Second Team honors last year
• Goalies Caden Capobianco and Max Sandberg combined for 73 saves last season
ABOUT NO. 17 BUCKNELL
• SO Doruk Ozar was named the MAWPC Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year and an ACWPC All-American honorable mention last season
• Bison has won the past two MAWPC championships
• Fell to USC in NCAA quarterfinals last season
ABOUT NO. 14 PRINCETON
• Tigers didn't play last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic
• SR Mitchell Cooper and JR Yurian Quinones each earned ACWPC All-American honorable mention in 2019
• Finished the 2019 season ranked No. 17 in CWPA poll
ABOUT GEORGE WASHINGTON
• GR Andras Levai was named to the All-MAWPC First Team last season
• SO Viktor Jovanovic was selected to the All-MAWPC Second Team last year
• Was able to play just five games last season and went 1-4