Big Splash goes to the Bears; Taylor, Nolan win big at Invite

The third ranked California men's water polo team captured the Steve Heaston Trophy for the second year in a row, beating host Stanford, 11-4, in the annual Big Splash.

The fourth-ranked Cardinal (5-3, 18-5) will now get ready for next week's MPSF tournament,which will determine the automatic bid into the NCAA tournament, which will be held in Berkeley.

Cal, the second seed, will open the MPSF Tournament versus UC Irvine on Friday, Nov. 25 at 11:30 a.m. at UCLA's Spieker Aquatics Center.

Cal was never really threatened in the Big Splash as it outscored Stanford, 4-1, after the first period and owned a 7-2 lead at halftime. The Bears had defeated the Cardinal, 8-7, Sept. 18 at the NorCal Invitational in Stockton, but lost to Stanford, 10-9 in overtime in the last meeting, Oct. 2 at the SoCal Invitational in Los Alamitos.

The win gave the Bears the Steve Heaston Trophy, named after the former Cal men's water polo coach (1989-98, three NCAA titles) who passed away in 1999, for the second year in a row (won 9-6 at Cal in 2010) and for the second time since 2004.

"This was obviously a great victory for us to win at Stanford and capture the Big Splash," said Cal coach Kirk Everist, whose team's only league loss this season was a 9-8 defeat to No. 1-ranked and defending NCAA champion USC. "Our defense was just excellent tonight. We scored 11 goals, but a lot of those goals came off our defense. Team defense was the key and J.P. (Justin Parsons) was just great in the cage. We are in a good spot, we just need to take care of business next weekend."

Jacob Smith led Stanford with two goals.

Men's swimming

Stanford freshman David Nolan was a part of two more meet records, one that stood since 1989, while Curtis Lovelace broke an 18-year old meet record in the 200 breast on the final day of the Arena Invite.

Bobby Bollier also set a meet record in the 100 fly, while Aaron Wayne (100 free) and the 400 free relay were also winners.

Meanwhile, in Tucson, three Cardinal divers made the finals of the three-meter at the Wildcat Invite as freshman Connor Kuremsky (326.40) finished fifth. Senior Taylor Sishc won the consolation final with a mark of 340.35 as Stanford had four divers in the top-nine.

In Long Beach, it was all Stanford, all weekend, as the Cardinal won 14 events over three days, including five on Saturday. Nolan was a part of nine of those wins, swimming in five meet records.

In his third individual win, Nolan (1:42.05) and teammate Matthew Swanston (1:42.06) each were under the 2005 record set by Stanford's Hongzhe Sun at 1:42.82 in the 200 back. Swanston nearly made up .23 seconds over the final 50 yards before Nolan held him off by .01 seconds for his second individual meet record of the weekend.

Women's swimming

Stanford's Andie Taylor won the 1,650 free at the Arena Invite, her fifth wins in three days. Stephanie Phipps reached her second-straight final at the Wildcat Invite, finishing fifth in the one-meter.

Taylor beat freshman teammate Fiona Majeau by 30 seconds, coming in with a winning time of 16:20.53 as Allison Arnold (ninth) and Natalie Durant (tenth) were also in the top-10. Stanford took home wins in four freestyle events after Andi Murez won the 200 free and Betsy Webb the 50 free over the previous two days. The Cardinal also won both the 800 free and 200 free relays.

Phipps started the day by having the top prelim score, of 280.95, before finishing fifth with a score of 288.80. Phipps finished nine points behind San Diego State's Kristen Meier (291.95). The sophomore was sixth in the three-meter on Friday.

Murez was second in the 100 free (49.30) as Cal's Liv Jensen, a Palo Alto grad, took home the title (48.96).


Nick Dugdale, Kevin Laube and McKenzie Wilson will need to win twice on Sunday to move onto the semifinals after dropping its only race to St. Mary's College of Maryland on the second of three days at the National Match Race Championships in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.

The Cardinal will need to win two-straight against the Seahawks to move onto the semifinals with Navy, Roger Williams and either South Florida or Tufts. USF leads Tufts 1-0, while Navy and Roger Williams each went 2-0 in the quarterfinals.

The championships finishes off on Sunday. A four-team semifinal and head-to-head final finishes off the three-day event. Match racing consists of three boats a piece for each team competing head to head in a round robin format. The lowest combined score is deemed the winner.

— Palo Alto Online Sports


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