Cal’s Nikolaos Papanikolaou a Finalist for Cutino Award, Looking for Third Win

Photo Courtesy: USA Water Polo

Cal’s Nikolaos Papanikolaou a Finalist for Cutino Award, Looking for Third Win

Cal’s Nikolaos Papanikolaou was named one of three finalists for the men’s Peter J. Cutino Award, released Monday by the Olympic Club in San Francisco.

Papanikolaou is joined by Princeton’s Roko Pozaric and Rafael Real Vergara of UCLA. Papanikolaou is vying to win the award for the third time.

The Greek international led Cal to a third straight national championship in the fall. He was the NCAA Championship MVP in all three. He scored 43 goals in his senior campaign and finished with 253 goals, second in program history. He’s the Golden Bears’ first five-time All-American.

Pozaric, a native of Croatia, was the first Princeton player to be named a first-team All-American. The junior was the Northeast Water Polo Conference Player of the Year thanks to 76 goals (fourth-most in program history), 47 assists, 41 steals and 28 drawn ejections. He also won 111 of 120 sprints.

Real Vergara, a senior from Sao Paulo, Brazil, led UCLA to the national final and scored a hat trick in a loss to Cal in the title game. Real Vergara led the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation with 71 goals, seventh-highest total in program history and most in 20 years. He added 23 assists, and his 94 points was fourth in the conference. He’s a four-time All-American and three-time first-team All-American

The Cutino Award for men’s and women’s players will be bestowed on June 1 at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. Women’s finalists will be announced after the college season concludes.

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