College NCAA Water Polo (Men)

Cal Bears stun USC, Stanford water polo players upset UCLA Bruins

Photo: Catharyn Hayne / KLC fotos

Last week saw two exciting MPSF face-offs after which Cal Bears and Stanford water polo players emerged as winners. USC and UCLA recovered from the loss and managed to collect one triumph after all.

Also, Long Beach State outscored San Jose State team which lost to UCLA too.


On November 4, No. 2 Cal water polo club hosted the MPSF match against the top-ranked USC. In a clash which was a repetition of 2016 final when Cal beat USC and won the NCAA Championship in overtime. Goalie Kevin Le Vine was the hero of the game which saw the Bears triumph thanks to their impeccable defense. Cal Bears hence celebrated their unblemished score of eight victories at home this season, with only loss to UCLA (away).

Trojan James Walters was the only scorer in the first quarter, while McQuin Baron kept his team’s goal empty and the opponent scoreless (0:1). Bears woke up in the second quarter. Connor Neumann scored an equalizer, whereas Spencer Farrar and Vassilis Tzavaras contributed to Cal’s two-goal advantage at halftime (3:1). In the second half, USC water polo players stroke back and tied the result in the third period. Johnny Hooper the put Cal back into the lead before the final period (4:3). USC was by the end completely overpowered by Cal water polo players who managed to again leave USC scoreless in the fourth quarter (6:3).

(0:1, 3:0, 1:2, 2:0)


USC had to quickly get over the defeat and shine against No. 5 Pacific on Sunday. This match in Stockton had a more satisfying end for the Trojans as Pacific water polo team was crushed.

Just as he did in the match against Cal, Walter scored the opener. Then USC went ahead 4:0 after Thomas Dunstan’s one and Lachlan Edwards’ two goals. After around six minutes of play, Ben Stevenson and Luke Pavillard made sure Pacific doesn’t stay scoreless in the first quarter (2:4). However, the hosting team failed to find the net in the second period, while the Trojans increased their advantage to seven (2:9). The winner was practically determined already, so USC could take their foot off the gas. The third period ended in a draw (4:11), whereas Pacific managed to net three unanswered goals during the last eight minutes. Trojans preserved the lead anyway and recorded their 22nd win this season.

(4:2, 5:0, 2:2, 0:3)



No. 4 Stanford water polo team collected their 10th victory in a row as they edged out No. 3 UCLA Bruins. Cardinal water polo squad was led by Ben Hallock who excelled with a hat-trick. On the other side, Nicolas Saveljic netted a pair for UCLA.

Stanford took the first lead thanks to Hallock, after which Alex Roelse tied the result straight away and the result remained 1:1 until the end of the first eight minutes. In the second quarter, Cardinal managed to prevail over the Bruins. Jesse Camou’s goal put UCLA into the lead for the first time, but Stanford water polo players responded with a pair so they went on a break with a minimum advantage (3:2). The third period saw Stanford achieve a two-goal advantage on two occasions, but UCLA was able to cut the deficit to one both times. Before the final eight minutes, Stanford had a 5:4 lead. They went ahead 6:4 and 7:5 in the fourth period, and sealed the victory with no trouble, as UCLA squad was not able to make a comeback.

(1:1, 2:1, 2:2, 2:1)


Bruins got off to a better start in a clash with San Jose State on November 5. They went ahead 2:0 before SJS managed to find the net and bring down the deficit to one (3:2) ahead of the second quarter. Then the Bruins stepped up their game and demonstrated power increasing the difference to four (7:3) at halftime. The rhythm was kept in the third quarter when UCLA water polo players again scored three goals more than their rival and basically determined the winner (12:5). SJS seemed crushed and the Bruins finished the match in a routine manner (14:6). The game’s top scorer was UCLA’s Matt Farmer with three goals.

(3:2, 4:1, 5:2, 2:1)


San Jose State suffered a narrow loss to Long Beach State on November 3. LBS started dominantly and ahead 4:2 and 5:4, but SJS came back and responded appropriately. They managed to equalize on two occasions in the second quarter and the halftime result was eventually tied (6:6). The third quarter saw an equal duel so the teams entered the final period with 8:8 written on the scoreboard. LBS took over the lead thanks to Austin Stevenson, but Ben Hauschild’s equalizer two and a half minutes before the end announced a thrilling finish. The game saw no goals until the last moments. The hero of the game was Nemanja Bakic who scored the crucial goal for the LBS with eight seconds left on the clock.

LBS 10:9 SJS
(4:3, 2:3, 2:2, 3:1)


Ahead of the MPSF Championship scheduled for November 17-19, Cal’s last rival will be Stanford on November 9, whereas USC will play against UCLA on November 11.

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