Men's Water Polo: Norcal Tournament Is So L.A.

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After Stanford and Cal claimed first and third, respectively, at the Southern California Tournament in September, the L.A. teams were out to get their revenge in this weekend's NorCal Tournament.

No. 3 USC and No. 7 UCLA turned the tournament into their own cross-town rivalry, knocking out both the Bears and the Cardinal on their way to facing off in the tournament's championship match.

The Bruins took the title with a 6-3 win, while No. 1 Stanford beat No. 3 UC Irvine 9-6 in the third-place match.

After losing to the Trojans in the second round, No. 4 Cal finished fifth in this weekend's tournament with a 8-6 win against No. 5 Pepperdine.

"It's always nice to come away with a win," Cal coach Kirk Everist said.

Tied 5-5 at the end of the first half, the Bears started the second half with a fruitful give-and-go play from Greg Panawek to Atilla Banhidy for the score.

The Waves answered the play with another goal and left the match deadlocked once again, 6-6.

Junior driver Banhidy's penalty shot early in the fourth period gave the Bears an important 7-6 lead.

"The competition was tough," two meter Panawek said. "Every win was important because it all counts toward the end of the season."

Cal came away with a 13-5 win in its first round match against No. 12 UC Santa Barbara.

Keola Richardson, Sean Vienna and Alexander Niehenke scored their first goals of the season.

The Bears' only loss of the weekend was to No. 2 USC in a triple-overtime, 8-7 sudden death thriller.

"USC was a hard-fought game," Everist said. "There were a lot of opportunities for us but we just couldn't make the best of them."

The first half of the match saw little action from either teams' offense, with a 1-1 score at the end of the half.

The Bears would waste no time taking the lead after the half with Rob Arroyo's score in the first 17 seconds of the second half.

The two teams continued to trade goals throughout the second half, and eventually finished in a deadlock at the end of regulation, 6-6.

It remained tied until the second overtime period, when USC scored with 1:07 on the clock. The win looked out of reach for the Bears until Panawek lobbed the ball into the goal, tying the score and sending the match into sudden-death triple overtime.

Only 47 seconds into sudden death, the Trojans' Jordan Hewko slipped one past goalie Russell Bernstein, winning the match and the right to advance to the semifinals.

The loss sent the Bears into the consolation bracket and a battle with No. 8 Loyola Marymount

Cal beat the Lions 12-9 with a balanced scoring attack.

Will Quist, Chris Lathrop, Peter Conte, Vienna, Andrew Stoddard and Panawek each scored two goals in the match.


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