No. 1 Bears Hold Off No. 5 Pacific In OT
BERKELEY – Junior Warren Loth scored both of Cal's goals in overtime while also adding two crucial field blocks in the extra session, and the No. 1 Cal men's water polo team outlasted No. 5 Pacific 16-15 on Friday night at Spieker Aquatics Complex.
The Bears (5-0) trailed for most of regulation before finally tying it up early in the fourth period. Sophomore Max Casabella scored his fifth and final goal on the power play with 2:19 to go in the fourth quarter to knot the score for the final time at 14-14.
Loth scored a goal with two minutes left in the first overtime to give Cal its first lead of the game at 15-14. He added some much-needed insurance on the Bears' first possession of the second overtime to make it 16-14.
The Tigers closed the deficit to 16-15 with 34 seconds left, but their final attempt with two seconds remaining missed and the Bears held on for the victory.
Pacific scored the first four goals of the game before Cal answered with three straight of its own, including two by reigning National Player of the Year Nikolaos Papanikolaou. The Tigers pulled away once again and established an 11-7 lead midway through the third period. UOP still held a 12-9 advantage with 1:41 to play in the third before Cal senior Joe Molina scored two of the next three goals, including the game-tying score at the 7:10 mark of the fourth quarter.
Papanikolaou finished with four goals, four earned exclusions and two steals while Casabella added four assists and two steals.
The Bears return to Spieker Aquatics Complex on Saturday morning for a game against No. 13 UC San Diego at 10 a.m. PT.
No. 1 Cal 16, No. 5 Pacific 15 (OT)
UOP 5 4 3 2 0 1 – 15
Cal 3 3 5 3 1 1 – 16
UOP Goals: Jeremie Cote 5, Mihalio Vukazic 3, Mattew Hosmer 3, Bogdan Djerkovic 2, Reuel D'Souza 2.
Cal Goals: Max Casabella 5, Nikolaos Papanikolaou 4, Joe Molina 2, Albert Ponferrada 2, Warren Loth 2, George Avakian.
UOP Saves: Bae Fountain 14.
Cal Saves: Adrian Weinberg 7.