Cal Seeking Atonement





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It has been five days since the Cal men's water polo team's poor showing at the Southern California Tournament. During that time, the Bears have had plenty of opportunity to pour over film and to evaluate what exactly went wrong last weekend.

Tomorrow, the No. 5 Bears (3-3) travel to Palo Alto to take on arch-rival No. 2 Stanford (4-1) in each team's first conference match. The game will provide Cal with a chance to redeem itself from last weekend's sub-par performance.

Tomorrow's game will take place on the Stanford campus at the Avery Aquatics Complex, at 12 p.m.

The Bears are currently in the middle of a three game losing streak, the second of which came against the Cardinal in Cal's 7-5 loss during last weekend's semifinal match.

But the game really wasn't as close as the score might make it sound. Cal was outplayed in nearly every facet of the game, and tomorrow the team hopes to turn that around.

"We want to show that last weekend was not a true indication of how good this team is," Cal coach Peter Asch said. "It's a very important game for us."

Throughout the week, the Bears have worked hard on the parts of their game that they feel caused their defeat last weekend.

In the tourney Cal made a number of poor passes and was consequently counter-attacked very effectively by the Cardinal. In addition, the Bears' 6-on-5 power play situations were not at all effective versus Stanford - Cal was only capitalize on those situations twice in eight opportunities.

Lastly, the Bears have to keep pushing hard on their counter-attacks. Against the Cardinal, Cal seemed to exude a lack of hustle when attacking down the length of the pool.

"The counter-attack has to set things up for the third and fourth quarter," Asch said. "If we don't go 100 percent all of the time, we can't tire out our opponents. (The players) have to dig down deep inside and say that although (hustling down the pool) may not produce a goal this time, it will in the fourth quarter."

The Bears have watched film from this past weekend and are convinced that Stanford is not simply a physically superior team. According to Asch, every goal the Cardinal recorded last week can be accounted for by a Cal mistake.

The Bears are not lacking confidence heading into tomorrow's match. Cal knows that if it sticks to its game, a victory can surely fall into place.

"We know that we can play with them, we just have to cut down on the mistakes," Asch said.

So far this season, the Bears have been led by senior two-meter man Jerry Smith, who has a team-high 14 goals. Senior driver Eldad Hazor and junior defensive specialist Mike West have each added 12 goals for Cal.

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