clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Heartbreaking 11-10 loss by Cal in double OT to UCLA in MPSF semi

Cal’s best shot to win a fall national championship will most likely fall short of the small NCAA championship field

Cal Men’s Water Polo is hoping to win NCAA title No.14 in 2016

The season is not exactly over yet, but No.3 Cal Golden Bears will likely be the first team out of the NCAA championship bracket after a heartbreaking 11-10 loss to No.2 UCLA. Golden Bears led most of the regulation, including by 3 goals at one point, but UCLA just would not go away.

UCLA took their first lead of the match in the first OT, but the Bears answer right away with the equalizer.

After UCLA go ahead again with a power play goal in the 2nd OT, Bears could not capitalize on a brief 6 on 4 opportunity to send this match to penalties.

Cal Men’s Water Polo (18-3, 1-2 in MPSF) may have played their last regularly scheduled match at Spieker Aquatic Center last week in the 12-11 Big Splash victory over Stanford, but they want to play more matches there in three weeks - when Berkeley will be the site of the 2016 NCAA Men’s Water Polo Championships on December 2nd-4th.

Given the formation of a new men’s water polo conference to knock the number of at-large bid back down to 1, today No.3 Golden Bears must defeat host No.2 UCLA - who just saw their NCAA record 57 consecutive win streak snapped by their rival USC last weekend.

This afternoon’s match will be streamed live on LINK HERE.

Should the Bears falter today, they will play in match tomorrow for a chance to play in the 3rd place match. In the unlikely scenario where USC loses to Stanford, there may be a small opening for the Bears to still make it to the NCAA, but let’s not think about that.

Here is the full schedule for this weekend - the 3rd place and championship match will be broadcasted live on the Pac-12 Networks.



Game 1: 10 am-A4 (#4 seed Stanford) v A5 (#5 seed Penn St. Behrend)Game 2: 3 pm-A1 (#1 seed USC) v A4 (#4 seed Stanford)Game 3: 4:30 pm-B2 (#2 seed UCLA) v B3 (#3 seed California)Game 4: 6 pm-A1 (#1 seed USC) v A5 (#5 seed Penn St. Behrend)


Game 5: 5 pm-3rd-Place "A" Team vs. 2nd-Place "B" Team


Game 6: 11 am-(3rd-Place): Game 5 Winner vs. 2nd-Place "A"Game 7: 1 pm-(Championship): Game 3 Winner vs. 1st-Place "A"

The Golden Bears, who finished 3rd in the national last year, are an experienced and solid squad. The leading Cal scorer this year is sophomore Johnny Hooper, who has 57 goals to lead the conference. The Cal attack also have 2016 Rio Calympian Luca Cupido (who had a great Big Splash) with 1.35 goals per match and Turkish freshman Safak Simsek with 1.24 goals per match. Parked in the 2 meter line in front of the net is Greek sophomore Odysseas Masmanidis as the center (at least during the Big Splash); he scores at a rate of 1.75 goals per match.

Defensively, Cal has senior Lazar Andric between the pipes. Andric is coming off a career best 21 saves at the Big Splash. In front of Andric, senior Farrel South and junior Nicholas Carniglia (who almost made the US Olympic squad this summer) are key members of the defensive line who will try to keep the opponents from getting shots off.

The Golden Bears are of course coached by Kirk Everist, who was recently featured by the Daily Cal.

For UCLA (24-1, 2-1 in MPSF), they have a US Olympian of their own in utility player Alex Roelse. The Bruins have a balanced attack with Patrick Fellner leading the team with 33 goals. Ryder Roberts is 2nd with 30 goals, while Max Irving is 3rd with 29 goals. Alex Roelse (26), Joey Fuentes (22) and Chancellor Ramirez (22) are also frequent goal contributors.

Senior Garrett Danner, the reigning Player of the Year, is the main goalkeeper for the Bruins.

UCLA has defeated Cal twice, both time in Berkeley in 2016. UCLA won 10-7 in a tournament final in September and then 7-6 in the MPSF regular season match in October. Prior to UCLA losing 7-8 to USC last Saturday, Golden Bears have been the one to push the Bruins to the limit during their record 57 straight wins.

In the USC Trojans victory, it was an evenly contested match until USC took advantage of three power plays to score three key 4th quarter goals, including the game winner with 0.38 seconds left, for the win. UCLA has not had to bounce back from a defeat in quite some times, an early lead by the Bears may cause some unfamiliar mental uncertainties to the Bruins.

Should the Bears be able to pull off a similar daunting feat, it will likely take a full team effort in a similarly close contest. It should be a fun one.