No. 1 Bears Begin Title Defense At Navy Open
NO. 1 CAL AT NAVY OPEN
LEJEUNE HALL | ANNAPOLIS, MD
SATURDAY, SEPT. 3
Johns Hopkins vs. No. 1 Cal | 7:30 a.m. PT
Iona vs. No. 1 Cal | 12:30 p.m. PT
SUNDAY, SEPT. 4
No. 11 Princeton vs. No. 1 Cal | 5 a.m. PT
Navy vs. No. 1 Cal | 9:15 a.m. PT
The No. 1 Cal men's water polo team begins its defense of its 2021 NCAA championship when it travels to the Navy Open for four games over the weekend. The Bears return much of their core from the 15th national title in program history, including ACWPC National Player of the Year and Cutino Award winner Nikolaos Papanikolaou. Also back in Berkeley is All-American goalie Adrian Weinberg, who played for the U.S. National Team at the FINA World Championships and FINA World League Super Final over the summer. Cal returns five All-Americans from last season overall.
Center Nikolaos Papanikolaou is putting together one of the best careers in program history, if not collegiate water polo history - and he's far from done. Already a National Player of the Year recipient, a three-time All-American and two-time MPSF Player of the Year, Papanikolaou still has two seasons of eligibility remaining and figures to be healthier this season after dealing with a shoulder injury most of last year. Papanikolaou led the MPSF last season with 68 goals and 35 steals.
Goalie Adrian Weinberg was an ACWPC Second Team All-American last season and is coming off a summer playing with the U.S. National Team. Weinberg saw time for Team USA at both the FINA World Championships and FINA World League Super Final, and is back in Berkeley as arguably the top returning goalie in the nation. Weinberg led the MPSF last season with 230 saves.
MORE THAN A SUPPORTING CAST
Nikolaos Papanikolaou was the National Player of the Year last season, but the Bears feature extensive depth and talent that led them to the NCAA crown in 2021. Along with Papanikolaou and Weinberg, ACWPC First Team All-American Jack Deely, who led the MPSF in points and assists last season, is also back in Berkeley. Roberto Valera, the 2021 MPSF Newcomer of the Year, also returns along with fellow ACWPC Second Team All-American Max Casabella. Cal features 10 players who scored at least 10 goals last year.
CAL TO HOST 2022 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP
Cal's Spieker Aquatics Complex will host the 2022 NCAA Championship on Dec. 3-4. The Bears last hosted the NCAA Championship in 2016, when they defeated USC in overtime in the national championship game. More details - including ticket information - will be announced at a later date.
EVERIST HITS BENCHMARK
Cal head coach Kirk Everist reached a milestone last season when he notched his 400th career win in the Bears' 11-9 victory over San Jose State. Now in his 21st season, Everist features an overall record of 413-127 (.765). Everist won his third career ACWPC National Coach of the Year award last year and third MPSF Coach of the Year accolade.
Attacker Garrett Dunn proved to be a player the Bears could count on in the clutch last season, as he had a handful of game-changing goals during Cal's run to the NCAA championship. None were bigger than his game-clinching overtime goal against UCLA in the NCAA semifinals. Dunn also had the game-tying goal that forced overtime during the Bears' victory over Stanford in the Big Splash, and the game-winning goal during the final minute in a victory over UCSB.
ABOUT JOHNS HOPKINS
• G Kyle Pearson and attackers Jayden Kunwar and Emerson Sullivan were ACWPC All-American honorable mention last season
• Kunwar is a two-time ACWPC All-American
• Defeated MIT in Third Place Game of Division III national championship
• C Justin Ginsberg earned ACWPC All-American honorable mention last season
• Gaels went 9-19 last season and placed fifth at the Northeast Water Polo Conference Championships
• C Luksa Vlasic tallied 75 goals as a freshman last season
ABOUT NO. 11 PRINCETON
• Roko Pozaric and Keller Mahoney earned ACWPC All-American honors last season
• Tigers set a program record with 26 wins last season and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship
• Pozaric was the 2021 Northeast Water Polo Conference Rookie of the Year
• Midshipmen advanced to title game of Mid-Atlantic Championship last season
• Goalie Caden Capobianco was an ACWPC All-American honorable mention last year
• Opened last season with an 18-7 loss to Cal the Navy Open