No. 3 Bears Host MPSF Invitational
SATURDAY, SEPT. 25
SUNDAY, SEPT. 26
Berkeley will become the center of collegiate men's water polo this weekend when the No. 3 Golden Bears host the MPSF Invitational. The tournament will feature 14 teams - all of which are ranked in the CWPA top-20, and each of the top-9. Games will take place Friday through Sunday at both Spieker Aquatics Complex and Legends Aquatic Center, with the Bears opening play Friday against No. 18 Pomona Pitzer at 4:40 p.m. at Spieker. The championship game is scheduled to take place Sunday at 1 p.m.
EVERIST REACHES MILESTONE
Cal head coach Kirk Everist registered his 400th career win last weekend when the Bears defeated San Jose State at the Aggie shootout. Now in his 20th season leading the Cal program, Everist has a career record of 401-123. 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.
BEARS SWEEP MPSF WEEKLY HONORS
After going 4-0 last weekend at the Aggie Shootout - with all four wins coming against ranked opponents - the Bears swept the MPSF's weekly awards when junior Nikolaos Papanikolaou was named conference Player of the Week and freshman Roberto Valera earned Newcomer of the Week accolades. Papanikolaou, the reigning MPSF Player of the Year, tallied 15 goals, 21 earned exclusions and five steals during the weekend. Included in his performance was a career-high seven goals in a 16-8 win over No. 19 Cal Baptist. Valera registered eight goals, six assists and three steals in his first collegiate action after missing the Bears' first six games while competing for Spain at the FINA Junior World Championships in Prague, Czech Republic.
Junior center Nikolaos Papanikolaou was the MPSF Player of the Year last season and an ACWPC First Team All-American, and he is off to another brilliant start this year. He leads the MPSF in goals (36), goals per game (3.6) and steals (15), and also has a whopping 41 earned exclusions, including eight in two different games. 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 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.
After missing the first four games of the season while competing for Team USA at the FINA Junior World Championships, junior goalie Adrian Weinberg has been a major presence in the cage for the Bears. He leads the MPSF with 64 saves and had an MPSF season-high 15 saves in a victory last weekend over UC Davis. Weinberg was an All-MPSF Second Team selection last season.
The Bears had five student-athletes compete at the FINA Junior World Championship in Prague, Czech Republic. Junior goalie Adrian Weinberg, junior attacker Sam Untrecht and sophomore center George Avakian all represented Team USA, which finished seventh overall. Meanwhile, freshmen Roberto Valera and Max Casabella played for Spain, which placed sixth.