Cal Thirsty For Revenge After Trojan Invasion





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The Cal men's water polo team should remember to put its Speedos on one leg at a time.

The Bears have a grudge match with No. 3 USC Saturday, which could make it easy to overlook No. 9 Long Beach State.

No. 4 Cal (7-3, 0-1 in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) heads to Southern California this weekend for a pair of crucial conference games.

Saturday's meeting with the Trojans (12-3, 2-0), will be a rematch of last weekend's sudden-death triple overtime thriller, which knocked the Bears out of their own NorCal Tournament.

Cal coach Kirk Everist said his team wouldn't be looking beyond tomorrow's meeting with the 49ers (9-8, 0-1).

"We can't place more importance on one game of the weekend," Everist said. "If we think too far ahead about USC we run the risk of taking LBSU too lightly."

The 49ers were also at the NorCal tournament last week, going 3-1 and taking ninth place.

Everist said LBSU's improved cohesion and team play since the season's start makes them a dangerous

opponent.

"They are a young team but they are improving every week," Everist said.

LBSU's youth may prove to be advantageous to the experienced Bears, but it's still business as usual for the team.

"We have to do what it takes to win," goalkeeper Tim Kates said. "This is one of those games where we have to be in the mindset of handling our business."

Whatever the outcome, Cal will get another shot at the Trojans the next day with a chance to avenge a bitter loss in a game that went back and forth throughout regulation and overtime.

With USC leading 7-6 in the second OT, two meter Greg Panawek lobbed in the game-tying goal with just 52 seconds left.

Just 47 seconds into the third and sudden-death overtime period, USC's Jordan Hewko skipped the ball past goalie Russell Bernstein for the 8-7 win.

"We can't squander the opportunities that we have in these future games," Everist said. "There were a lot of potential opportunities in the USC game that could have produced a different outcome."

After losing to the Trojans in the quarterfinals of the NorCal, Cal finished in fifth place.

USC went on to finish second in the tournament, losing only to No. 7 UCLA, 6-3, in the championship match.

"In a season with so little margin for error, it is crucial to treat every opponent as a contender," Kates added.

Overall records will prove to be very important at the season's end to determine which four teams will advance to the NCAA Tournament.

Last year, Cal finished the season ranked No. 2 after going 15-7 reaching the MPSF Torunament final, but missed out on the NCAAs,

The Bears' three losses this season have come against USC, No. 1 Stanford and No. 6 Pacific. They have yet to beat an opponent ranked in the top three, made up of the Cardinal, Trojans and No. 2 UC Irvine.

"We need to follow through on the opportunities that we are given," Everist said. "If we do that, then we can really dictate the tempo of the game."

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