As the famous sports proverb goes, “It’s harder to stay at the top than to get there.”
As the best team in the Aggie Shootout this weekend, Cal should anticipate every team’s best shot.
The Bears will match up with Pacific and San Jose State for the second weekend in a row. While sticking to their guns might seem like the logical choice considering the Bears’ performances against these squads, it’s just as important to make adjustments to avoid any potential upsets, as the Tigers and Spartans will surely be looking for redemption.
“We’re playing two teams that we played last week, and we had some success against them. They’re well coached, they’ll be prepared, they’ll make some adjustments to things that didn’t work in their schemes, so we will have to adjust and not just assume they’ll roll out and do the same exact thing,” said head coach Kirk Everist. “I anticipate hard challenges from both UOP and San Jose State again.”
On top of the adjustments they need to make against Pacific and San Jose State, Cal will need to prepare for new opponents such as UC Davis and California Baptist University. The blue and gold are still working to integrate new players into the lineup. Despite Cal being favored in every matchup, this weekend will be all but a cakewalk.
“It’ll be a good weekend, a good challenge for us. Like I said, we’ll mix in a few different people and are starting to get used to some of the younger players on our team that were in their first games in the last couple of weeks too,” Everist said.
While the Bears might be the most talented team in the shootout, they won’t be the only undefeated one. The Aggies are also coming in hot with a 6-0 record even after playing the same opponents the Bears did in three out of their six games. UC Davis is not only talented but also experienced.
“Davis has a couple of really strong 2-meter players. I think they have a little bit more depth at the 2-meter position. They’ve got an older team, a lot of redshirt juniors, redshirt seniors, so they’re experienced, they’ve been around for five years or four and a half,” Everist said.
CBU also poses a similar challenge for the Bears: experience.
“They’ve got an older team that’s experienced and mature, so we’re going to have to deal with that because they won’t be surprised by things, and they’ll battle through stuff. They’ve seen a lot of games,” Everist said.
While the Lancers are experienced like the Aggies, they should not pose as much trouble, as CBU is 2-6 on the season and have lost three out of their past four games. Regardless, the Bears must not get complacent — anything can happen in the water.
Justin Kim covers men’s basketball and men’s water polo. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.