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Bears head to Barbara Kalbus Invitational as season heats up

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FEBRUARY 23, 2023

Two weekends ago, Cal traveled to UC Davis for the Aggie Invite. The No. 4 Bears entered as the team to beat as they faced unranked California Baptist and No. 17 Davis in the one-day tournament.

The Cal women’s water polo team finished with a pair of comprehensive victories, first defeating California Baptist 19-5 in the morning before beating the hosts 15-5 shortly after.

The first contest against California Baptist proved to be the highest-scoring game of Cal’s season with the Bears putting away 19 goals — 11 coming from freshmen. The Bears went on to conquer the host team, UC Davis, thanks to a truly unstoppable defensive effort. Tauscher and senior Shea Salvino both notched their second hat tricks of the season in the 15-5 blue and gold win. 

Cal will first face UC Davis for the third time as its first game at the Barbara Kalbus Invitational. Attacker Ruby Swadling noted how Davis is always an interesting game to play as it tries to find weaknesses in Cal’s proven defense:

“Against Davis they always put up a really good fight with us and always stick it to us,” Swadling said. “For us we have to focus on coming out strong and sticking to what we have done and what we know works for us and not get caught up in matching what they do.” 

Ending the Aggie Invitational with a decisive defensive performance, the Bears secured another two wins for the regular competition season. Cal had a full week off and now travel down to Irvine to face intense competition — they are set to potentially compete against top five teams in the NCAA league. This will be the final tournament before the Bears start conference play.

With games and tournaments every weekend, Cal’s season so far has been nonstop. Before the Aggie Invitational, Cal hosted its annual California Cup where it fell to No. 1 Stanford. Taking this time to regroup, the team focused on the details of its game play during the short break. 

“We had two games two weekends ago and we had a break last weekend, which was nice to regroup after some tough games,” Swadling said. “It allowed us to prepare. We have a really big weekend at Barbara Kalbus where we will have some really hard games. The last two weeks were really nice for us to knuckle down and focus on stuff that we have been really needing to work on and get some conditioning in.” 

The Barbara Kalbus Invitational is one of the most prestigious tournaments in collegiate water polo. The tournament, held at the University of California, Irvine, features 16 of the top teams in the country. Named in honor of Barbara Kalbus, a legendary figure in women’s water polo, the tournament will be the most competitive facing the Bears have experienced so far. 

The Bears enter the tournament with a record of 9-2 and ranked No. 4 in the country. Led by head coach Coralie Simmons, the team is looking to build on its success from earlier in the season and make a strong showing at the tournament.

Swadling mentions how the Bears cannot enter the tournament with the mindset of being one of the best teams there, as every game is important to their success. 

“We really need to come out hard on firing and set the pace for how we are gonna play the rest of the tournament, which is going to be really important considering we are going to have some top five match ups the rest of the weekend” Swadling said. 

This will be an excellent opportunity for the Bears to test themselves against some of the top teams in the country. The Bears have already shown that they are a talented and competitive team, and they will be looking to prove themselves even further at the tournament against teams like UCLA, USC and Stanford. 

The team’s success at the tournament will be a testament to their hard work and dedication, and they will be hoping to come away with a championship.

Contact Devon Byrne at 


FEBRUARY 23, 2023