NOTEBOOK: Former Starting Goalie Quits Team

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Last year, Jacob McIntosh played in 25 of the Cal men's water polo team's 28 games, making 212 saves to become the Bears' starting goalkeeper as a sophomore.

That will not be the case this season.

McIntosh left the team after losing playing time to sophomore Wil Toppen in last weekend's NorCal Invitational, clearing up what was a logjam for minutes in the cage. Although the junior had appeared to secure the starting spot heading into the tournament, he struggled in the opening round's first half against Santa Clara and was replaced by Toppen.

Toppen then started against No. 6 Santa Barbara in the second round, racking up a season-high 15 blocks against the Gauchos, and No. 2 Stanford in the semifinals.

"Wil Toppen played a lot this weekend in the cage, really stepped up for us and played pretty darn well for the most part," coach Kirk Everist said. "He took advantage of an opportunity he was given, and he's our No. 1 goalie right now."

True freshman Justin Parsons will now back up Toppen, and may get playing time if the Bears hold a solid lead. Cal had been traveling with three goalies this season, a move that Everist said was unusual.

"We made the decision early on to not redshirt JP, and he'll get his chances eventually," he said. "But I'd like him to learn by practicing and watching ... and not putting too much pressure on him."

Words from the Wise

On Sunday, former Cardinal coach Dante Dettamanti sat at the stats table to watch the third-place and championship games. In his 25-year tenure across the Bay, he produced eight NCAA national titles and finished in second an additional six times. He retired after his championship-winning 2001 season with a record of 570-148-6.

He shared his wisdom about water polo throughout the day:

-- Of all the players to go through the Stanford water polo program, Tony Azevedo is likely the best. The current U.S. national team captain swept the Peter J. Cutino Award -- the sport's equivalent of the Heisman Trophy -- through all four of his college years and led the Cardinal to championships in 2001 and 2002.

Dettamanti, though, enjoyed only one championship with his star recruit before handing the reins to current Stanford coach John Vargas.

"Probably should've stayed as long as Tony was there," he said.

-- USC coach Jovan Vavic is quite a character, known for yelling and gesticulating wildly at both his players and the officials. This past weekend was no different, as Vavic's voice often interjected the referees' whistles.

"I swear he's going to have a heart attack by the time he's 50 years old," Dettamanti quipped. "Away from the pool, he's very nice, but for the games he gets intense."

-- After redshirt freshman Spencer White scored on a counterattack against the Trojans, Dettamanti asked who he was.

"He's a hell of a player," he said. "I've been watching him this whole tournament."

White, whose brother Zach starts at two-meter set, has 11 goals this season, fourth-most on the Cal team.


Contact Jack Wang at [email protected]

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