Cal Swims Ahead After Half to Beat Davis

Photo: Ivan Rackov scored two goals in Cal's 14-4 rematch against UC Davis. The junior, who leads the Bears with 18 goals, also notched two in the teams' first meeting this season.
Kellen Freeman/File
Ivan Rackov scored two goals in Cal's 14-4 rematch against UC Davis. The junior, who leads the Bears with 18 goals, also notched two in the teams' first meeting this season.

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The No. 3 Cal men's water polo team swept its schedule this past weekend at the Davis Mini Tournament in Schaal Aquatics Center.

The Bears (7-1) shut out Redlands, 15-5, on Saturday before trudging past No. 11 tournament host Davis 13-8 later on that afternoon.

Cal gave playing time to its players deeper in the rotation against the unranked Division III Bulldogs (5-7), saving a large part of the first string veterans for the match-up against the Aggies.

This didn't keep the Bears from punching in a dominating win, however, going into halftime with an 11-2 lead.

Redshirt freshman goalie Michael Boggan played the entire game against Redlands, registering three saves.

Freshmen Collin Smith and Perry Short and sophomore Mason Cox pitched in with two goals each.

Junior Travis Bickham and sophomore Marin Balarin each led the team with three goals apiece.

The later match against the Aggies (11-4) wasn't such a breeze, though, when compared to the Bulldogs, who fell short in all three of their games. Cal was actually tied with Davis at seven goals each heading into halftime.

At the end of the third quarter, the score was still close at 10-8 before the Bears pulled away in the fourth with a 3-0 run to seal the game.

This weekend marked the second time Cal faced the Aggies this season. The rematch was dramatically different than the season-opener at Spieker Aquatics Complex on Sept. 4, when the Bears had a decisive 14-4 victory.

In the rematch senior center Zach White helped salvage the day from disaster, logging an impressive five goals, one of which came in the instrumental fourth quarter 3-0 run.

The two other fourth quarter goals came by the hands of junior Luka Saponjic and freshman Giacomo Cupido.

The Bears seemed to let their guard down early before wising up in the second half, possibly because they were expecting an effortless win similar to the season-opener.

Cal has to keep in mind through the rest of the season that the most dangerous teams tend to be the ones with nothing to lose.

The Aggies won their two other tournament games, 5-4 against Santa Clara and 14-12 against Redlands.


Byron Atashian covers men's water polo. Contact him at [email protected]

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