Shorthanded No. 1 Cal Tops No. 11 UC Davis In NCAA Men’s Water Polo Action

by SwimSwam 0

September 18th, 2023 NCAA/College Water Polo, Water Polo

Courtesy: Cal Athletics

DAVIS – The No. 1 California men’s water polo team continued its perfect start to the season Friday, coming away with an 11-9 victory at No. 11 UC Davis.

Playing without its star center Nikolaos Papanikolaou, Cal’s other 2022 first-team All-Americans led the way on both ends of the pool. Junior attacker Max Casabella paced the offense with a game-high four goals, while senior goalkeeper Adrian Weinberg stopped 13 shots and added one steal.

The Golden Bears have now improved to 8-0 for the third straight year, while the Aggies (5-2) were handed their second loss of the season.

It was the second consecutive game with at least 13 saves for Weinberg, who has helped hold Cal’s opponents to single digits in seven out of eight games. He made five straight saves in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter to keep the Bears ahead by two goals.

The Aggies made it a 10-9 game with 3:31 left on the clock, but a minute later, Nik Mirkovic took a pass from Jake Howerton on the counter and scored a dagger goal to make it 11-9. Roberto Valera and Wyatt Mundelius came up with a pair of clutch steals and Davis didn’t get another shot on target the rest of the way.

Casabella – who now leads the team with 21 goals – was joined on the scoresheet by six other Bears. George Avakian and Piero Arienti filled in at center for Papanikolaou, both scoring once.

A key 8-3 scoring run between the second and third quarters was kickstarted by back-to-back goals by left-handed attackers Albert Ponferrada and Marci SzatmaryCarter Loth scored his third goal of the year and Jake Stone snuck in a first-half buzzer beater. Casabella later capped the spurt with his fourth goal of the day, sealing his second four-goal effort in the last three games.

Cal returns to the pool Sunday to take on No. 7 Pacific at 1 p.m. PT at Chris Kjeldsen Aquatics Complex in Stockton.

No. 1 California 11, No. 11 UC Davis 9
Cal 2 5 3 1 – 11
UCD 3 3 2 1 – 9

Cal GoalsMax Casabella 4, Albert PonferradaMarci SzatmaryNik MirkovicJake StoneCarter LothPiero ArientiGeorge Avakian
UCD Goals: Logan Anderson 4, Aaron Voggenthaler 2, Will Nomura, Aleix Aznar Beltran, William Fosselman
Cal SavesAdrian Weinberg 13
UCD Saves: Aaron Wilson 12

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