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Golden Medals: 6-0 Cal Men’s Water Polo has home opener tonight; Volleyball earns 5 set win over Pacific

It’s the last weekend of non-conference play for Cal Volleyball (8-2) ahead of Pac-12 play

Cal Volleyball has earned 2 tough 5-set wins in the past week.
Cal Volleyball Twitter

Lots of Cal Athletics action on campus this week. Go support your Golden Bears!

Cal Men’s Water Polo (6-0) has home opener tonight

It is of little surprise to anyone who follows the program that 3rd ranked Cal Men’s Water Polo continues to win. The perennial national championship contender is seeking to extend their NCAA best national championship count to 15 in 2018.

For the 2018 season, the student section at Spieker Aquatic Complex has been apparently been updated. Cal fans can check that out for the first time this season tonight when the Golden Bears host Long Beach State at 6pm PT.

Last weekend, Golden Bears passed their first big test of the season with a tough 11-8 win at No.5 Pacific Tigers. Bears jump out to a first quarter 3-0 lead and maintained that lead. Both Vassilis Tzavaras and Safak Simsek scored a hat trick in this one. New starting goalkeeper for this season, Bernardo Carelli, made 11 saves.

With offensive machine Johnny Hoover still gone with the US National Team, Simsek has really picked up the slack to lead the Bears. He earned MPSF Player of the Week honor for the 2nd straight week of the season. The junior from Turkey has 10 goals (3rd best on the team) on the year.

After hosting Long Beach State on Friday night, Bears will play two matches from UC Davis on Saturday against Pacific and Harvard bright and early. We shall see if the Golden Bears have the proper conditioning and depth to get through this tough 22 hour stretch with 3 grueling matches.

Cal Volleyball (8-2) wrapping up non-conference schedule, hosting Big Spike on Wednesday night

Big win for the resurgent Cal Volleyball on Thursday night as they defeated the Pacific Tigers via come-from-behind fashion to remain a perfect 4-0 at Haas Pavilion. It is the 2nd straight week that the Golden Bears had overcome a 0-2 set deficit to force a decisive 5th set; unlike the match against Gonzaga while playing at the Portland State tournament last weekend, the Golden Bears were able to win the home match on Thursday night.

For a rebuilding program, this is precisely the type of victories that may hopefully give the Bears some much needed confidence when they are playing the better Pac-12 competitions starting next weekend.

Granted, Pacific is not that strong of a team, despite them beating Cal 3 times in the past 4 years. Golden Bears also should not have lost those first two sets, particularly since a lot of the damage were self inflicted with service errors. Nonetheless, the young Cal Volleyball program is certainly trending in the correct direction in this first full year under head coach Jennifer Dorr, who was already proud of her team for forcing a 5th set (which they lost) against Gonzaga last weekend.

In recent matches, junior Kat Knop has overtaken fellow junior Emma Smith as the libero. Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Forte is also pushing freshman Bella Bergmark for playing time. Freshman outside hitter Makana Mayer and junior Savannah Rennie, who is back healthy again after needing a liver transplant then overcoming cancer, have also seen more floor time in the past week.

From Portland, Golden Bears were able to bounce back with two victories after dropping the opener in 5 sets to Gonzaga.

Against host Portland State, Golden Bears needed 5 sets to get the victory. 5 Bears had double digit kills in this one - Mima Mirkovic, Lauren Forte, Preslie Anderson, Bailee Huizenga, and Carmen Annevelink.

In the Gonzaga match (who were winless on the season before this match), Golden Bears fought hard only to fall short at the end.

Golden Bears will make a short trip to Moraga on Saturday to play St. Mary’s in their non-conference finale. The Pac-12 season will open on Wednesday night at 8pm PT with the home leg of the Big Spike against Stanford. Check back to CGB on Wednesday for a preview of that match and a more comprehensive recap of the Cal Volleyball nonconference season.

Cal Women’s Soccer (4-3) earns tough split in Oklahoma

Cal Golden Bears took a trip to the Sooner State last weekend.

Bears first lost a 3-1 decision to the 21st ranked Oklahoma State Cowgirls. OSU took a 2-0 halftime lead and the Bears did not get on board until late in this one.

Golden Bears bounced back in a big way in their 2nd match of the road trip, however.

Sophomore captain Emily Smith is back healthy and played 60 minutes off the bench in the Oklahoma win. Senior Miranda Nild scored the game winner in the 61st minute.

Bears’ final non-conference match today will be on the Pac-12 Networks.

Golden Bears will then open their Pac-12 schedule by hosting ASU next Saturday at 1 pm PT.

Cal Men’s Soccer (3-1-1) hosts Delaware and No.15 UMass-Lowell

On the heel of a dominant 6-1 win over Sacramento State from Avaya Stadium, Cal Men’s Soccer could not breakthrough with a goal despite plenty of opportunities against UC Riverside last Sunday to record their first tie of the season.

Bears will look to end that scoreless drought against a pair of East Coast teams this weekend, including the 15th ranked UMass-Lowell side. Bears will host Delaware today as a part 2 of another doubleheader with Cal women’s soccer. They other match will be on Sunday at 2pm PT.

For his 4 goals vs. Sacramento State and 5 shots against UC Riverside, senior Shinya Kadono earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honor.

Bears have one more week of nonconference match, a visit to Santa Clara next Saturday ahead of the start of the Pac-12 conference where they will play a home-and-home against all 5 other Men’s Soccer programs in the conference.

Cal Field Hockey (2-3) drops a close one at Louisville

Playing the toughest schedule so far out of all the fall Cal Olympic sports, Cal Field Hockey dropped both matches from a trip to Louisville last weekend, but the outlook on this year’s team afterward may be even brighter than before these losses.

Against the 2nd ranked North Carolina at a neutral site, Cal lost 6-0 - similar to their 4-0 home loss to 4th ranked Maryland, Golden Bears have a way to go to beat a top 5 ranked team. Against No.11 Louisville, however, Golden Bears fought hard only to lose a 2-1 decision in OT. The Bears were so very close in recording one of program’s best win in recent memory.

Megan Rodgers assisted in the first goal of the year by Lindsay Mathison to give the Bears a 1-0 lead at the half. But the host Cardinals fought back with an equalizer in the 2nd half. They also got the game winner in OT. Cal keeper Danielle Mantink made 4 saves.

Cal Field Hockey will host Yale this Sunday before another long road trip, this time to Illinois, to play against Iowa and Northwestern next weekend.