No. 2 Bears Visit No. 1 UCLA
The No. 2 Cal men's water polo team continues MPSF play this week with a visit to No. 1 UCLA. The Bears went 2-0 last week, holding off No. 6 Long Beach State 16-14 in overtime on the road and then returning home and defeating No. 19 George Washington 24-10 to move to 16-1 on the season. UCLA also comes off a perfect week, having defeated No. 11 UC Santa Barbara 12-7 and No. 7 UC Davis, 10-9. Both teams are undefeated in conference play and this will be the first matchup between the two since Cal defeated UCLA 15-13 in overtime in the 2021 NCAA Championship semifinals.
CASABELLA NAMED MPSF PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Sophomore Max Casabella was named MPSF Player of the Week for the second time this season on Oct. 24. He scored six goals in Cal's 16-14 overtime win at No. 6 Long Beach State and added three more, along with two assists and a steal in the Bears' 24-10 victory over No. 19 George Washington. Casabella has scored 17 goals in the past four games and leads the Bears with 45 goals.
Center Nikolaos Papanikolaou won the Cutino Award as the top player in NCAA water polo last season while also taking home ACWPC National Player of the Year honors, and he hasn't slowed down this season. Papanikolaou ranks fourth in the MPSF with 43 goals after winning the conference scoring championship last year with 68 goals. The three-time All-American also leads the conference with 55 earned exclusions and is in the top-10 in steals and field blocks.
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 is second in the MPSF with 142 saves.
MORE THAN A SUPPORTING CAST
Nikolaos Papanikolaou was the National Player of the Year last season, but the Bears featue 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 424-128 (.768). Everist won his third career ACWPC National Coach of the Year award last year and third MPSF Coach of the Year accolade.