Nov. 20, 2004
Berkeley, Ca - Led by two goals apiece from Brian Bacharach and Andrija Vasiljevic, plus 12 saves from goalie Nate Bennett, the No. 4-ranked California men's water polo team (19-8) upset No. 2-ranked Stanford (19-4), 6-5, in The Big Splash Saturday at Spieker Aquatics Complex. By winning The Big Splash, the Bears also captured the Steve Heaston Trophy, named in honor of the former Cal water polo coach (1989-98), and given to the annual winner of the Stanford-Cal water polo match prior to the Big Game.
Vasiljevic scored what proved to be the game-winner with a long shot from the right side with 2:23 left in the match to give Cal a 6-4 advantage. Thomas Hopkins got the Cardinal back within striking distance with another long shot with 2:03 left in the final period to get within 6-5. The two teams battled back and forth with Stanford having a couple of strong opportunities to tie the match. Ryan Fortune had a shot attempt blocked by John Mann in one the Cardinal's final series, and then Hopkins overpass Tony Azevedo with 11 seconds left, allowing the Bears to run out the clock for the win.
Avezedo led Stanford with three goals, including scoring the first goal of the match with only 66 seconds into the contest. The Bears came back with goals by Bacharach, Vasiljevic and Marty Matthies to take a 3-1 lead after the first period. Avezedo scored the first goal of the second quarter, but Cal maintained its two-point cushion on a goal by Brian Kinsel with 2:20 left in the half.
In the third period, Stanford tied the match, 4-4, on a goal by Peter Varellas at 4:27 in the quarter, and Avezedo's third goal at 2:04 left in the third. But, a Bacharach skip shot past Cardinal goalie Chad Taylor with 1:39 in the third gave the Bears back the lead, 5-4, entering the final period.
Taylor finished with eight saves for Stanford. The Cardinal had won the two earlier matches between the two schools this season, both by 12-7 scores (Oct. 3 at the NorCal Tournament, Nov. 3 at Stanford).
Stanford will host the MPSF Tournament on Nov. 26-28.
Stanford (19-4) 1 1 2 1 = 5
California (19-8) 3 1 1 1 = 6
Stanford Scorers: Azevedo 3, Hopkins, Varellas
California Scorers: Bacharach 2, Vasiljevic 2, Kinsel, Matthies
Goalie Saves: Taylor (S) 8; Bennet (C) 12