Tigers To Face No. 3 Cal, No. 1 USC
Stockton, Calif. -
The No. 7 Pacific men's water polo team will play its fourth consecutive road match Friday, November 11, when it takes on No. 3 California at 5 p.m. at the Spieker Aquatics Complex. The Tigers then return to Kjeldsen Pool Sunday, November 13, for a tilt with reigning national champion No. 1 USC at 12 p.m.
Last Week In Brief
Pacific earned its first Mountain Pacific Sports Federation victory of the year when it defeated then-No. 5 UC Santa Barbara 9-8 on Sunday, November 6. Two days earlier, the Tigers lost a heartbreaker at then-No. 1 UCLA 13-12 in sudden-victory overtime, their sixth extra-time game of the season.
A Quick Look Ahead
The Tigers will honor their 10 seniors Saturday, November 19, before their home match against No. 8 Long Beach State at 12 p.m. Pacific will then begin preparation for the MPSF Tournament, held over three days starting Friday, November 25, and hosted by UCLA.
News And Notes
Sophomore Balazs Erdelyi extended his scoring streak to 18 consecutive matches with goals against UCLA and UC Santa Barbara last weekend. He also owns 13 multi-goal games on the year.
Senior Tom Koning recorded his 40th career multi-goal game against UC Santa Barbara. He has 11 multi-goal games this season.
Junior Goran Tomasevic extended his scoring streak to double figures over the weekend. He has now scored in 11 straight matches and owns 12 multi-goal games on the season.
MPSF Tournament Watch
With the win over UC Santa Barbara, Pacific put themselves in a position to claim a spot in the eight-team MPSF Tournament. If the tournament started today, the Tigers would earn the eight seed and face off against top-seeded USC in a first-round game. The three teams ahead of Pacific have two wins apiece, making the Tigers only 0.5 games back from the fifth seed with three to play.
Senior Tom Koning needs just seven goals to eighth place on Pacific's all-time goals list. He is 12 goals away from sixth place.
Sophomore Balazs Erdelyi needs three goals and six assists to reach 100 career goals and assists, respectively.
Sophomore goalkeeper Alex Malkis is 19 saves shy of 400 career blocks.
MPSF Stat Rankings
Sophomore Balazs Erdelyi ranks fourth in the conference with an average of 2.37 goals per game. He is one of just seven players with 40 or more goals this year.
Senior Tom Koning is right behind Erdelyi, ranking fifth with a scoring average of 2.10 goals per game. He also has more than 40 goals this season.
Junior Goran Tomasevic rounds out the top 10 goal scorers with an average of 1.80 goals per game.
Sophomore Alex Malkis averages 9.88 saves per game, good for third in the league. His 163 saves on the year is second-most by any keeper.
The Golden Bears enter their tilt with Pacific at 17-3 on the year and 5-1 in league play. They are in the midst of a three-game win streak and have lost just twice in their last 15 games. Both losses occurred in overtime games.
Friday's meeting marks the third time Pacific has squared off against California this season. The Tigers fell 8-6 in the first match and 11-9 in the second match.
Reigning Peter J. Cutino award-winner Ivan Rackov leads California, and the MPSF, with a 3.00 goals-per-game scoring average. The senior has tallied 57 goals on the year. Classmate Luka Saponjic owns an average of 1.94 goals per game, good for seventh in the league. Junior goalkeeper Justin Parsons saves an average of 9.88 shots per game while allowing just 6.35 goals per game, third lowest in the MPSF.
As a team, the Golden Bears are scoring an average of 12.65 goals per game, the most of any MPSF team. They are allowing just six goals per game, third lowest in the league.
USC, winners of the last three national titles, owns a 17-2 record and are unblemished in MPSF play at 6-0. The Trojans are on an eight-game win streak and have not lost since October 2.
The Trojans are led by senior Peter Kurzeka and his scoring average of 1.76 goals per game. He is one of three USC players to rank in the top 25 in scoring in the MPSF.
USC has arguably the best goalkeeper in the nation in senior Joel Dennerley. Last year's MPSF Player of the Year, Dennerley is allowing just 4.98 goals per game, the lowest average in the league. He is saving an average of 9.57 shots per game as USC has the league's best scoring defense.