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Golden Medals: Corcoran earns NCAA XC Championship berth; M. Water Polo in MPSF Championship this weekend

Cal Volleyball visiting the Washington schools this weekend.

Redshirt senior Garrett Corcoran is back to another NCAA Cross Country National Championship
Cal Track and Field/Cross Country Twitter

It’s that time again. Your weekly update of all that’s happening in the world of Cal Olympic Sports. With a little bit more time next week, I’ll write more of an official season recap for the already concluded seasons of Cal Field Hockey, Cal Men’s Soccer, Cal Women’s Soccer, and Cal Women’s Cross Country. Hopefully, the seasons of Cal Men’s Water Polo and Cal Volleyball are still going strong then.

Garrett Corcoran makes NCAA Cross Country Championship as an individual

The Cal redshirt senior is back in the NCAA Championship for the 4th straight year in his collegiate career. Corcoran finished 6th in the NCAA West Regional to book his 2nd straight individual berth at the NCAA Championships.

In his sophomore year, Corcoran placed 216th at the NCAA. He improved to 177th overall and was the 2nd best Cal finisher in his junior year. Last year, he was one of two Bears to qualify on the men’s side and finished 140th. I’m sure that Corcoran is hoping to crack top 100 (if not top 50) in the country this year. With his improved time over the year, that’s certainly a plausible goal from Madison, Wisconsin on Saturday.

Corcoran ran at the same course a month ago at the Wisconsin Pre-Nationals and placed 59th overall (and helped the Cal men’s team to an overall 18th place finish). Cal Cross Country head coach Shayla Houlihan had mentioned how Corcoran learned from that race about where to stay in the front of the pack. That experience apparently did pay dividend at the Pac-12 (Corcoran finished 19th overall) and at the NCAA Regional (where Corcoran finished 6th overall).

The NCAA men’s Cross Country race is a 10k meter race. At the same course earlier, Corcoran posted a time of 24:42.5.

Cal Men’s Water Polo in MPSF Championship

4th ranked California Golden Bears will look to bounce back from a close 12-11 (OT) Big Splash loss to earn another trip to the NCAA Championship. Bears can make the NCAA championship by winning the automatic bid this weekend from USC. They will likely also make the championship pool by placing 2nd or 3rd (which would require winning the pivotal 3rd place match) this weekend. It will be a tight fight amongst Cal, Stanford (host of this year’s NCAA Championship), USC, and 2x defending champ UCLA.

Six Golden Bears earned all-conference honors, which was announced earlier this week. Senior Johnny Hooper is the lone first team honoree for the Bears. Fellow senior Vassilis Tzavaras and junior Safak Simsek are on the 2nd team. 3 Bears are honorable mentions.

Golden Bears are the 3rd seed at the MPSF Tournament. This means that they will play a match on Friday against the winner of Penn State Behrand and Austin College. After that almost guaranteed victory, Bears will have to play host USC on Saturday at the 1pm PT semifinal.

A win over the Trojan would put the Bears in Sunday’s 1pm PT final. A loss would mean a must-win match in the 11am PT semifinal. Both the 3rd place and championship match will be broadcasted on the Pac-12 Networks.

Last year, Golden Bears defeated Stanford in a close 3rd place match to earn a spot in the NCAA Championship while preventing the Cardinal from making it. Since graduated Luca Cupido had a fantastic effort in that match, likely earning him the Pete Cutino Award.

Cal Volleyball looking for another weekend split up in the state of Washington

By splitting their two matches in the last 6 weeks, Cal Volleyball (14-13, 6-10 in Pac-12) have kept their postseason hope (must have a 0.500 or better winning percentage) alive. Golden Bears defeated the Oregon State Beavers but got swept by the 17th ranked Oregon Ducks squad on Senior Day last weekend.

This week, the Bears have to face No.20 Washington (22nd in RPI) in Seattle on Friday night and No.18 Washington State (11th in RPI) in Pullman on Sunday. Earlier this year in Berkeley, Cal lost in straight sets to Washington but defeated Washington State in 4 sets. It is almost imperative that the Golden Bears win one of these match since their last match next week is against the top ranked in RPI Stanford Cardinal. Golden Bears are currently 93rd in RPI but that number should get a lot better if they are able to win two more matches this year. Arizona, Cal’s other opponent is 41st in RPI.

By the way, Cal star (both in indoor volleyball and beach volleyball) Mima Mirkovic is featured in this video about her experience TEACHING a DeCal class about happiness. Check it out below:

Cal Soccer Alumni Updates

While both Cal men’s and women’s soccer seasons are over, several of their alum have been doing great things internationally.

On the men’s side former Cal goalkeeper Jonathan (son of Jurgen) Klinsmann earned a call up to the US National Team. He did not see any action in USA’s 3-0 loss to England.

On the women’s side, Cal alum and soccer superstar Alex Morgan scored the lone goal to cap an unbeaten year for USWNT. Morgan has scored 25 goals for USWNT in her last 26 matches. She will be leading USA to try to make some history as the first country to win back-to-back Women’s World Cup in 2019 during the summer from France.