Balanced Attack Buoys Cal in Win Over Gauchos

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After Spencer Warden put the Cal men's water polo team on the board with a five-meter penalty shot, the All-American never found the cage again.

But six of his teammates would.

The No. 2 Bears used a balanced attack to earn a 7-4 win over the ninth-ranked Gauchos on Saturday in Santa Barbara, Calif., as all seven goals were scored by different players. It was their first victory in which no player scored multiple times.

"That's what we're looking for this season," Warden said. "It showed that everyone on the team is stepping up. We don't have just a few goal scorers ... guys are stepping up and scoring goals and it puts wind back in our sails, back in everybody's sails to keep on going."

The Cal (17-4, 4-1) defense also made an impressive showing in the unorthodox Campus Pool, which includes a shallow end that is about a half-meter short of the standard two-meter depth. The Bears limited the Gauchos (11-11, 0-4) to only three goals until freshman Geng Wang scored on a 6-on-5 with only two seconds left in the game.

"We were a little nervous because their pool, one side is shallow," Warden said. "You never know how your goalie's going to handle that, you never know how the other team's defense is going to handle that, you never know how your defense is going to handle that.

"If we can keep teams to three goals, we'll be in the game with anybody."

Sophomore goalkeeper Wil Toppen solidified the effort with six saves, including a shutout in the second quarter.

Cal visits No. 8 Long Beach State (8-10, 1-4) at noon on Sunday in another conference tilt.

Contact Jack Wang at [email protected]

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