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Bears secure 3rd place in Barbara Kalbus Invitational

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FEBRUARY 28, 2023

The Barbara Kalbus Invitational is one of the most prestigious tournaments in collegiate water polo. The tournament, held at UC 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 was the most competitive facing the Bears have experienced so far.

The Bears entered the tournament ranked No. 4 in the country with a 9-2 record. Led by head coach Coralie Simmons, the team was looking to build on its success from earlier in the season and make a strong showing at the tournament. Senior Isabel Williams mentioned it has been a while since the Bears have actually been able to attend this tournament.

“We have not been able to attend Kalbus in a while, with COVID-related reasons for the past few years,” Williams said. “It was exciting to finally get to participate in this tournament. We normally are used to playing one or two games a weekend, so tournament play is a lot different for a lot of people.”

Cal faced UC Davis for the third time as its first game at the Barbara Kalbus Invitational. The Bears secured their first win of the weekend with a final score of 8-3. The next day, they went on to face No. 5 University of Hawaii, a nailbiter that went into overtime.

During one of the toughest games so far, both teams went back and forth taking the lead. Neither team led by more than two goals at any point in the game. Hawaii took over before three second-quarter goals and sent the Bears into halftime trailing 3-4. In the end, Simmons noted how mistakes made late in the game allowed for Hawaii to stay in it.

“They gave us a good run in overtime. They secured some goals at the end of regulation that put us on our heels because they felt like we controlled a lot of that game other than some mishaps towards the end, like a redirect shot and things like that,” Simmons said.

In the end, Cal came out on top with a final score of 11-10, with 11 saves from goalie Williams. But it was far from an easy game as the Bears had to regroup and find themselves in order to come out on top.

The first overtime period was nearly scoreless until Ruby Swadling sunk a goal in the back of the net. Finally, the blue and gold regained their rhythm and took home the win.

“The girls were prepared. We are a little bit deeper than Hawaii. It was nice being able to get some players in and out,” Simmons said. “Into overtime we took control, had some nice looks, got up on them by two and allowed ourselves to find a little bit more rhythm in those last two overtime quarters.”

The Bears moved on to face Stanford once again in the first to fourth place bracket. In order to move on to the championship game, they had to defeat the Cardinal. Unfortunately, Cal couldn’t find a way around Stanford’s proven successful offensive and defensive system.

Cal lost 6-11, staying in the game until the third quarter. Unable to find a way back in it, the Bears settled for the 3rd place match the next day versus No. 3 UCLA.

“Versus Stanford, we had a rough third quarter. We had a solid first half,” Simmons said. “Then they got the better of us in that third quarter and we couldn’t respond, couldn’t rebound off that third quarter.”

At the last game of the weekend, Cal battled it out for a third place finish and came out on top. With a season high of 14 saves from Williams, the final score was 9-7.  The Bears came home with a win and now rest up before an inner conference game at home this weekend versus Arizona State.

Contact Devon Byrne at 


FEBRUARY 28, 2023