BERKELEY, Calif., Nov. 7. AFTER defeating defending national champion and formerly No. 1-ranked Stanford, 9-8, on Saturday, Nov. 2, the University of California Bears jumped two spots in the polls today, unanimously being voted the No. 1 team in the nation by the American Water Polo Coaches Association.
Under the guidance of first year head coach and Cal alum Kirk Everist, the Bears are in the midst of one of their finest seasons in recent memory. As a two-time national championship winner himself (1997-98) as a member of the Golden Bears, Everist looks to return Cal to the national spotlight once again. At 15-4, the Bears are primed to make a run at the MPSF Conference title as well as a return to the NCAA tournament, their first appearance since 1995.
Junior All-American Attila Banhidy's 40 goals this season leads a potent offensive attack that ranks second in the MPSF in total points, with 186.
Senior goalkeeper Russell Bernstein leads a Cal goalkeeping group that ranks first in the conference with a 5.63 goals against average. Bernstein's 12 saves in the victory over Stanford earned him recognition as MPSF Player of the Week, the Bears' first such honor this season.
In this 100th year of the California men's water polo program, the Golden Bears are steeped in a tradition of excellence that has won a total of 11 NCAA championships, more than any other school in the history of water polo. In addition, Cal has collected 33 conference championships while developing 146 All-Americans and 25 Olympians along the way.
Cal returns to action on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 10:00 a.m., to face MPSF-leader Pepperdine at Spieker Aquatics Complex in Berkeley.