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Late Surge Propels No. 4 Bears Past No. 7 Pacific

Sep 19, 2021
Nikolaos Papanikolaou scored two late goals to help put the game away for the Bears.

DAVIS – For the second straight day at the Aggie Shootout, a strong fourth quarter lifted the No. 4 Cal men's water polo team to a victory over a fellow top-10 opponent.

A day after the Bears held No. 8 UC Davis scoreless for almost the entire fourth period, Cal similarly put the clamps down again Sunday in the final period to beat No. 7 Pacific 13-11 at Schaal Aquatics Center.

The Bears (10-0) and Tigers went back-and-forth throughout the game, and after UOP's Jeremie Cote scored on the first possession of the fourth quarter, Cal clung to a 10-9 lead. But the Bears proceeded to score the next three goals while holding the Tigers off the scoreboard for 6:25 to take control.

Nikolaos Papanikolaou and Miles O'Brien-Schridde each registered hat tricks for the Bears, with Papanikolaou scoring Cal's final two goals. Papanikolaou also drew eight exclusions for the second straight day. Freshmen Roberto Valera and Max Casabella each scored twice, with Valera also adding three assists. Goalie Adrian Weinberg made 10 saves.

The game was tied 8-8 midway through the third period before Casabella and senior Marko Valecic scored to put the Bears up by two. Cote's goal gave the Tigers their only score from the 1:20 mark of the second quarter until there was 1:16 left to play. UOP had two late goals to close the scoring.

The Bears return home next weekend to host the 14-team, three-day MPSF Invitational. Games will take place at both Spieker Aquatics Complex and Legends Aquatic Center. Cal is the No. 3 seed in the tournament and opens play Friday at 4:40 p.m. against 14th-seeded Pomona-Pitzer.