The No. 2 California men’s water polo team ended a 4-0 week Saturday with a 19-12 win over No. 8 Long Beach State and 25-7 against UC Merced at the Spieker Aquatics Complex.
The Golden Bears’ (17-3) 44 goals were their most through two games, as three players had season-best five-goal performances. Roberto Valera had his second five-goal outing in the victory against Beach (14-9), while the two Brady Hoover and William Kelly scored five times in the victory against Merced (12-16).
Cal came out firing in their first game of the day against LBSU, scoring six times in the opening period. Jake Howerton, Marci Szatmary and Valera gave the Bears a 3-0 lead a few minutes later. Valera and Szatmary got braces before the period ended to give Cal a 6-3 edge heading into the second.
The Bears continued to outscore Beach in each of the remaining three periods. Valera got his ninth hat trick of the year before halftime. Casabella converted a penalty and went 6-on-5 in the third quarter, both of which gave Cal a five-goal lead. It was Casabella’s team-leading 10th three-goal effort.
Albert Ponferrada finished with two goals with three steals and a game-high four assists. Jake Howerton added two goals of his own. It was Howerton’s 10th goal in five games.
After a one-hour intermission, the Bears closed out their four-game home stand with a season-high 25 goals against Merced, scoring 14 unanswered goals between the first and third quarters. Both Hoover and Kelly scored four of their career-high five goals in the second half. Ryder Hagan and Chris Ball both recorded hat tricks and Father Batito had two goals with a game-high four assists.
MPSF action continues next Saturday when the Bears head south to play No. 1 UCLA for the third time this season.
No. 2 California 19, No. 8 Long Beach State 12
Cal 6 4 4 5 – 19
LBSU 3 3 3 3 – 12
Cal Goals: Roberto Valera 5, Max Casabella 3, Albert Ponferrada 2, Jake Howerton 2, Marton Szatmary 2, Nik Mirkovic 2, Jordi Gascon, Jake Stone, Piero Arienti
LBSU Goals: Evan Cain 4, Caleb Francisco 2, Bruno Chiappini 2, Marc Frigola, Robert Lopez Duart, Abdelrahman Soliman, Nikola Jancic
Cal Savings: Eat the Seed 3, Kieckhafer 3
LBSU Saves: Liam Ward 9
2 California 25, UC Merced 7
Cal 6 5 7 7 – 25
UCM 2 0 2 3 – 7
Cal Goals: Brady Hoover 5, William Kelly 5, Chris Ball 3, Ryder Hagan 3, Father Batito 2, Wyatt Mundelius, Sam Untrecht, Jordi Gascon, Marci Szatmary, Carter Loth, Blake Hoover, Piero Arienti
UCM Goals: Killian Nguyen 3, William Pezold 2, Noah Hernandez, Camden Peterson
— Cal Water Polo (@CalWaterPolo) October 21, 2023