BERKELEY, CA., November 9. PEPPERDINE senior two-meter man Karl Niehaus scored three goals and helped lead his No. 5 ranked Waves to a stunning 8-5 road win over top-ranked California in a key Mountain Pacific Sports Federation game here today.
The match was played Saturday morning at Cal's Spieker Aquatics Complex.
Cal defeated top-ranked Stanford last weekend at Stanford to claim the nation's No. 1 ranking.
The Waves, 13-7 overall and 7-1 in MPSF play, have now clinched the regular-season conference title with the victory and will be top-seeded at the nine-team league tournament. The tourney is scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend in Los Alamitos, CA.
The Wave win marked the second time this season that Pepperdine has beaten the nation's top-ranked team, as it also holds a win over Stanford from last month in Malibu.
California falls to 15-5 overall, 4-3 in MPSF play. The Golden Bears had moved to the top spot in the ranking after notching a 9-8 road win last weekend at Stanford.
Pepperdine last won the regular season MPSF crown in 1997. The Waves also went on to win the NCAA title that season — their first and only — so Pepperdine coach Terry Schroeder is hoping history repeats itself!
The MPSF Tournament champion gets an automatic entry into the four-team NCAA Championships the following weeked at Loyola. The finals' loser may also be included but is not guaranteed a spot.
Today's extremely physical contest included game ejections to California's Chris Lathrop and Greg Panawek along with Golden Bear head coach Kirk Everist.
Hampered throughout the season by slow starts, the Waves jumped out to a 3-0 lead to seize control of the contest. Pepperdine held a 4-1 advantage at intermission.
Junior driver Scott Harvey's goal at the 3:30 mark of the third quarter pushed the Waves' lead to 5-2. Junior driver Will Quist scored 90 seconds later to pull the Golden Bears within a 5-3 count heading into the fourth quarter.
Attila Banhidy, California's leading scorer, connected on a four-meter penalty shot with 5:11 left in the game to help California close the gap to a 5-4 margin.
Niehaus scored his second goal of the game with 2:34 left to give Pepperdine a two-goal cushion, and sophomore driver Jordan Keitel found the back of the net with 1:58 to play to give Pepperdine a decisive 7-4 advantage.
Senior goalie Michael Soltis continued his solid play in the net for Pepperdine, registering 11 saves.
Pepperdine completes its two-game road trip today with a noon non-conference game at No. 8 Pacific.
The Waves complete their regular season schedule with two home games next week at their home Raleigh Runnels Memorial Pool. Pepperdine will host No. 7 Loyola Marymount next Wednesday (Nov. 13) at 2 PM before battling No. 9 Long Beach State next Saturday, Nov. 16 beginning at noon.
— Bill Bell
Pepperdine 2 2 1 3 — 8
California 0 1 2 2 — 5
Karl Niehaus (3), Jeremy Grubbs (1), Scott Harvey (1), Michael Hausmann (1), Jordan Keitel (1), Jesse Smith (1)
Will Quist (2), Attila Banhidy (1), Vince Bevins (1), Andrew Stoddard (1)
Michael Soltis; 11 saves and 5 goals allowed.
Russell Bernstein; 7 saves and 8 goals allowed.