No Comeback Allowed in Bears' Win Over Santa Clara

Lara Brucker/Staff

Related Articles »

  • Printer Friendly Printer Friendly
  • Comments Comments (0)

After the No. 2 Cal men's water polo team hosted Santa Clara a month ago, the players gathered in a post-game huddle, angry and upset.

They had given up eight goals after running up a 8-1 halftime lead­-a letdown which injected a bitter taste into the 13-9 win.

Yesterday, the Bears redeemed themselves, embarrassing the No. 13 Broncos at their own Sullivan Aquatics Center in a 15-4 blowout in Santa Clara, Calif.

"This time, we kind of expected them to come out very, very hard," senior co-captain Spencer Warden said. "We were prepared for that.

"We weren't on our heels; we were on our toes."

Similar to their first matchup, the Bears (20-4, 6-1 in the MPSF) built up a 9-1 lead before the halftime buzzer sounded.

But there was no breather for Santa Clara (17-11) in this game, as Cal's offense continued pouring in goals until there was less than a minute left to go.

The steady effort was powered by Warden's career-high six goals, four of which came in the first half. He also scored three consecutive times from nearly the same outside spot to help give the Bears their 5-1 lead in the opening period.

"I was in the right place at the right time," Warden said. "I got good passes from my teammates and just put the ball away ... The pass is really what makes the shot, what makes the goal."

Six other players supplemented Warden's outburst, including a pair of goals each from sophomores Luka Saponjic, Ivan Rackov and Travis Bickham.

The Bears' defense also held strong, allowing only three more goals after halftime and stretching their lead to 11 late in the third quarter.

True freshman Justin Parsons anchored the stand, tying his career-high eight blocks and making a highlight-reel save as he lunged across the cage. It was Parsons' second start against the Broncos, giving everyday goalkeeper Wil Toppen some rest after Saturday's 12-5 win over Pacific (13-14, 0-7).

"What he needed was game experience, whatever we could give him," coach Kirk Everist said of the decision not to redshirt Parsons. "He needed to have that intensity in practice every day, knowing that an injury or whenever, he could be called on to get in the cage."

Cal is now riding a nine-game winning streak and has captured 12 of its past 13-an encouraging sign as it prepares to visit No. 3 Stanford (19-2, 6-1) for the Big Splash on Saturday.

The upcoming game against the Cardinal-who fell to top-ranked USC (21-1, 7-0) in a 13-12 overtime thriller two days ago-will close the regular-season schedule for both and determine the second seed in the MPSF championships.

"Winning games gives you confidence," Warden said. "As a team, I think we're confident right now."


Contact Jack Wang at [email protected]

Comments (0) »

Comment Policy
The Daily Cal encourages readers to voice their opinions respectfully in regards to both the readers and writers of The Daily Californian. Comments are not pre-moderated, but may be removed if deemed to be in violation of this policy. Comments should remain on topic, concerning the article or blog post to which they are connected. Brevity is encouraged. Posting under a pseudonym is discouraged, but permitted. Click here to read the full comment policy.
White space
Left Arrow
Water Polo (Men's)
Image Bears Host NCAA Tournament for First Time in Histo...
The smallest details can add up to the big difference between a...Read More»
Water Polo (Men's)
Image Big Splash Victory Marks First Perfect MPSF Run Si...
Football fans, take solace in Cal water polo's success at...Read More»
Water Polo (Men's)
Image Cal Coasts Past Pacific With Late Scoring Flurry
The No. 1 Cal men's water polo team had a close call against No. 6 ...Read More»
Water Polo (Men's)
Image Bears Cruise to 10th Straight Win With Three Weeke...
The No. 1 Cal men's water polo team extended its wi...Read More»
Water Polo (Men's)
Image Sibling Rivalry
16 year-old Zach White was doing homework when his younger brother Griffin ...Read More»
Water Polo (Men's)
Image Cal Scores Upset Win in MPSF Opener
The No. 4 Cal men's water polo had the same kind of enthusiasm and support ...Read More»
Right Arrow

Job Postings

White Space