Cal men’s water polo team sweeps MPSF individual awards

Photo of Cal water polo
Can Jozef Saul/Staff

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From winning the Big Splash to dominating the MPSF regular season championships, the Cal men’s water polo team breezed through its season with flying colors. After ending their regular season on a high note, the No. 1 Bears swept the postseason conference awards for the first time in 13 years.

Junior center Nikolaos Papanikolaou was named MPSF Player of the Year for the second year in a row, making him the fifth player in history to win this award consecutively. He was also named MPSF player of the week three times this season and leads the conference in number of goals and earned ejections.

Freshman attacker Roberto Valera was awarded the MPSF Newcomer of the Year title, and, ranked third in the conference for goals per game, Valera is the first player in MPSF history to be named Newcomer of the Week five times in one season.

Head coach Kirk Everist became the fourth coach ever to receive the MPSF Coach of the Year award two years in a row. Leading the blue and gold to remain undefeated in conference games, Everist also recorded his 400th career win this season.
In addition to dominating the individual awards, the Bears also ranked first in the conference for All-MPSF selections. Leading the conference with 87 points, senior utility Jack Deely was named to the First Team along with Papanikolaou.
Graduate student and team captain Nikos Delagrammatikas and junior goalkeeper Adrian Weinberg were selected for the Second Team while redshirt senior attacker Miles O’Brien Schridde, freshman attacker Max Casabella, and Valera received honorable mention.
The blue and gold has certainly racked up a pile of accomplishments this season, but their post-season journey has just begun. They will be traveling across the Bay to Palo Alto this weekend for the MPSF Championships and they must prepare well for the serious showdowns ahead.

Yuqing Qiu covers men’s water polo. Contact her at [email protected].