With an 8-6 victory over rival California on Saturday afternoon, the Stanford men’s water polo team advanced to the finals of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Tournament. Its opponent will be decided later today, and UCLA and USC square off in the second semifinal.
The No. 5 Cardinal pulled away from the Golden Bears with two late goals, including a goal on a penalty shot from junior driver Jacob Smith. The win was Stanford’s first this season in four meetings with Cal, including a loss last week in Berkeley at the Big Splash. Cal is the No. 1 team in the country, and the top seed in the MPSF Tournament.
Stanford will take on USC or UCLA tomorrow at 3 p.m. at Avery Aquatic Center. The winner will earn the MPSF’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament in Berkeley.
UPDATE: In the second semifinal, second-seeded USC toppled third-seeded UCLA, 10-5, to advance to the tournament final against Stanford. USC is ranked No. 2 nationally. The Cardinal upset the Trojans, 5-3, in their only meeting this season, on Oct. 9 at Avery Aquatic Center.
-By Kabir Sawhney