No. 5 Bears Stay Perfect With Win Over No. 7 UC Irvine
TEMPE, Ariz. – The No. 5 Cal women's water polo team capped off a dominant weekend at the season-opening Cross Conference Challenge with a 16-8 victory over No. 7 UC Irvine on Sunday at Arizona State University.
The Bears went 4-0 for the weekend, with each victory coming against top-10 teams.
"Everyone came in really excited and focused on the weekend, and wanting to get better throughout," Cal head coach Coralie Simmons said. "We wanted to come out and play some quality water polo after a solid fall season."
Three-time All-American and 2020 Olympian Emma Wright scored five goals to move into seventh place on Cal's all-time scoring list while sophomore Ruby Swadling polished off an impressive weekend with three more goals of her own, as the Bears outscored their opponents 57-31 during the tournament.
Wright, who returned to Cal this season after taking two years off to train with the Canadian National Team, scored 11 goals during the four games and now has 165 in her career. She needs eight more goals to take over the No. 6 spot on the program's all-time list.
Swadling, a member of the 2020 MPSF All-Newcomer Team who opted out of last season, had nine goals, eight assists and three steals during the weekend.
"Ruby is just a consistent teammate and performer for us," Simmons said. "She's not flashy but she definitely makes big contributions for us on both ends of the pool. She's just a smart player that other teams are going to have to figure out how to guard. Her attention to detail allows us to function at a high level."
Junior Shea Salvino added two goals and an assist against the Anteaters while Mallory Reynoso also added a pair of goals. Junior goalie Isabel Williams recorded nine saves.
The Bears led 4-3 at the end of the first quarter before netting five of the next six goals to open up a sizable lead. UC Irvine was still in striking distance down 10-7 midway through the third period, but Cal then registered four more goals in a row to put it away.
The Bears had 14 different players score goals over the weekend.
"Having confidence in any unit going in is going to be essential for us to attack with a wave of different lineups," Simmons said. "This is a team that really prides itself in having everyone contribute in a big way. That's going to continue to be a big focus for us moving forward."
Cal also defeated No. 8 Michigan, No. 4 Arizona State and No. 10 Fresno State during the tournament.
The Bears open their home season next weekend by hosting the Cal Cup at Spieker Aquatics Complex. Cal will take on No. 10 Fresno State and No. 13 Pacific on Saturday and No. 12 Long Beach State and No. 16 San Jose State on Sunday.