Apologies for not having a post up last week. The Golden Medals post returns this week with a lot of Cal results to go over. Also, be on the look out for a my one-time post next week that summarizes the presence of Cal alum in the Winter Olympics history ahead of the 2018 Pyeongchang Games (which as far as I can tell right now does not have any Cal ties).
Cal Women’s Water Polo (6-0) rises to No.2 in the country, may face No.1 Stanford this weekend
Cal fans looking to see the best scorer in Cal Women’s Water Polo history has this one last season to catch Hungarian Calympian Dora Antal in her senior campaign. In just 6 official matches in 2018, Antal has already scored 19 goals to tie Emily Csikos (a former Cal and Canadian national team star) for 219 goals in her Cal career - the current program lead. Needless to say, Antal should easily surpass that record by the time she is done.
The 19 goals scored by Antal has already earned her the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week honor in the 2nd week of women’s water polo action (teammate Emma Wright won the honor for the first week). Now that USA (and sadly Stanford) superstar Maggie Steffens has exhausted her college eligibility, Antal is more than ready to seize the title of the “best college women’s water polo player” and lead the Golden Bears to that elusive first national championship in this sport (women’s water polo is the lone Cal Aquatics sports without a national title...it is also the youngest of the four programs).
Golden Bears have routed every opponents on their regular schedule thus far. Opening the year at No.6 Hawaii, Bears won 9-4 before also beating the ranked Marist and Loyola Marymount squads by 17-2 and 12-2 margin.
Back in Berkeley for the Cal Cup last week, Bears won 15-6 over UC Davis, 10-8 over UC Irvine (first competitive match of the season), and 19-6 over Fresno State. While the Golden Bears did lose an unofficial match to the Chinese National Team, that match should give the Bears some valuable experience going to the real test this weekend - the Stanford Invitational. The bulk of Antal’s damage came in this past homestand when she scored 6, 4, 5 goals each against Davis, Irvine, and Fresno State, respectively.
At the Stanford Invitational this weekend, Bears are scheduled to face San Jose State, Michigan, and UC Davis down at the Farm. While they are all ranked in the top 25, none of these teams should give the Bears issues. Should the Bears win out and No.1 Stanford follows suit in the other side of the tournament, Bears will play the host Cardinal in the Sunday finale match.
The two Bay Area squads are 1 and 2 in the latest rankings with a somewhat surprising Arizona State team 3rd ahead of the LA schools. This is only the 2nd time in program history that the Bears have ranked as highly as No.2 in the country. Bears have yet to achieve the No.1 ranking in program history.
Besides Antal, Golden Bears are getting offense from Canadian national team member Emma Wright (14 goals - 9 goals scored in the 3 matches in Hawaii), Italian national team member Carla Carrega (12 goals), and Antal’s fellow Hungarian Calympian running mate in Anna Illes (8 goals).
Perhaps more impressive than the goals is the stout Cal defense. Madison Tagg has been the main keeper for the Bears while Lolo Silver and Cassidy Ball also saw time inside the cage. Also big on the defense (most likely...since it is unsung in the box score) is Cal senior defender Kindred Paul. The other Cal Canadian national team member is blogging about her team for CalBears.com this year. Her blog, which includes her own interview of Antal, can be read here.
Let’s hope that comes next Friday, I’ll be writing about the historic No.1 Cal Women’s Water Polo team who gets to beat Stanford this weekend and its new all-time leading goalscorer in Antal, who is more than just a scoring machine.
Cal Rugby (6-0) dominant despite my preseason concern about the team youth, face Stanford on February 7th
Cal Rugby just keeps on rolling through its opponents, no matter if the opponent is a much older club team like the Olympic Club this past weekend. Bears with numerous sophomore in the starting 15s, who earned their ways there, defeated the visiting Olympic Club 87-19 last weekend. The Olympic Club includes numerous past Cal great on that squad, but a side with a few Cal Bears was no match for a side with all-Golden-Bears.
Through 6 matches, Jamie Howells (a 5th year senior) appears to be the main kicker for the Bears. Tries have come from all over the lineups (and from the reserves) so it is tough to figure out who is the main go-to players in a pinch for the Bears right now, from just looking at the box score.
After this brief homestand, Bears are back on the road to SoCal to face San Diego State this weekend. Bears have had a flawless trip down to LA and then Cal Poly in the first two weekends of the season. After the visit to the Aztecs this weekend, Bears will play Stanford at The Farm on Wednesday.
CGB will certainly update you on the Stanford score via Twitter on Wednesday night at 6:30pm PT (sadly, this is not televised) in what should be a rather one-sided affair.
Cal Track and Field had a strong season debut at Washington
Coming off a season with some great individual performances - Ashten Davis in hurdles and Peter Simon in shotput, Cal Track and Field return these athletes while hoping that more fellow Bears will be joining these Bears by the time the NCAA championships come around. After one weekend of action, it may be a fairly large contingent of Bears heading to the NCAA Indoors and Outdoors championships this year.
In total, 4 Golden Bears came back from Seattle with a win. After a strong Cross Country season, senior Bethan Knights set a personal record in winning the 5k. For whatever reason, Knights had not have a great full year in her Cal career up to this point. In her senior season, maybe everything is finally clicking together for the talented Brit.
Other Bears to win their events included Lauren Martinez in pole vault and a pair of newcomers in Noelle Schiller in women’s long jump and Tuomas Kaukolahti in the men’s triple jump.
He was apparently thinking of doing even more, because Tuomas won the triple jump competition with the sixth-best mark in the NCAA this year!— Cal XC/Track & Field (@CalTFXC) January 28, 2018
52 FEET - 2.50 INCHES
While not winning the event, several more Bears set personal bests, including McKay Johnson with a school shotput record that broke teammate Peter Simon’s record.
Bears will rest this week before heading back to Seattle next weekend for the Huskies Classic.
Cal Women’s Tennis (2-1) edged by Texas, denied trip back to ITA Indoors Sweet 16
Despite being featured in the main tweets for the event (as the main senior on the squad), Karla Popovic did not play for Cal women’s tennis this past weekend. Without their senior No.1 (or possibly No.2 player), the Golden Bears had to go to the distance to edge UNLV in the first round before being edged 4-3 by Texas in the 2nd round. Bears played a midweek dual against San Diego State and won 5-2 there.
In the battle against No.12 Texas, No.11 short handed Bears fell just short. Here is the results from that dual.
No. 12 Texas (4-0) defeats No. 11 Cal (1-1), 4-3
Cal won the doubles point
*Clinched the doubles point Order of Finish – 3, 1*
1. No. 10 Bianca Turati (Texas) def. No. 27 Anna Bright (Cal), 6-1, 6-2
2. No. 87 Anna Turati (Texas) def. Julia Rosenqvist (Cal), 7-5, 6-4
^3. No. 40 Olivia Hauger (Cal) def. No. 32 Petra Granic (Texas), 6-3, 6-4
4. Maria Smith (Cal) def. Bojana Markovic (Texas), 6-0, 6-2
5. Fernanda Labrana (Texas) def. Alexis Nelson (Cal), 6-0, 6-1
6. Marta Perez-Mur (Texas) def. Jasie Dunk (Cal), 6-3, 6-2
Bears played 3 freshmen in key roles as Bright, Rosenqvist (note that they are the top two Bears), and Dunk experienced their first collegiate tennis in the team setting after playing as singles or doubles during the fall.
Just like the name of their No.1 recruit (ranked 1 or 2 in the country), the future is “bright” for the Cal Bears, especially if they can add another top player of Karla Popovic’s caliber soon.
Cal Men’s Tennis (3-1) lost in ITA Indoors opener to Tulane but edged Oregon
Another young squad also went 1-1 in the ITA kickoff weekend as Cal Men’s Tennis were denied a trip to the ITA Indoors Sweet 16 despite being the host. Then again, a freshman got to experience the thrill of clinching a 4-3 match for the Bears on Sunday, which is a great experience.
When the freshman, Jack Molloy clinches the win ➡️ you celebrate! pic.twitter.com/TwYisFF8D6— Cal Athletics (@CalAthletics) January 31, 2018
Bears were edged by Tulane 4-3 before beating Oregon 4-3 this past weekend.
Here is the results against No.21 Tulane:
No. 22 Tulane (2-0) defeated No. 19 Cal (2-1), 4-3
Tulane won the doubles point
Order of Finish: 3, 2**Clinched the doubles point
1. No. 21 Constantin Schmitz (Tulane) def. Billy Griffith (Cal), 0-6, 6-1, 6-1
2. No. 112 Ewan Moore (Tulane) def. J.T. Nishimura (Cal), 5-7, 6-1, 6-1
^3. Jack Molloy (Cal) def. Hamish Stewart (Tulane), 6-2, 6-2
4. Paul Barretto (Cal) def. No. 46 Luis Erlenbusch (Tulane), 7-5, 6-2
5. Jacob Brumm (Cal) def. No. 107 Tyler Schick (Tulane), 6-2, 6-3
6. Tim Ruetzel (Tulane) def. Ben Draper (Cal), 6-2, 6-3
Order of Finish: 6, 1, 5, 3, 4, 2^^Clinched the overall match
Similar to the Cal women, Cal men is relying heavily on youth as Molloy, Baretto, Brumm, and Draper are all freshmen. Due to this loss, the Bears actually never faced the top ranked team of the regional in No.11 Stanford. Of course, Cal will take on Stanford in the Big Slam soon enough (February 24th from Berkeley).