Ever since taking down No. 2 UCLA three weeks ago, the Stanford men’s water polo team has not looked back, riding its stellar defense and powerful offense to a seven-game winning streak. This weekend the success continued for the No. 4 Cardinal (17-4, 5-1 MPSF) as it cruised through its road trip to Southern California with wins against UC-Irvine, Chapman University and Long Beach State.
Stanford opened the weekend on Friday night by rolling over No. 8 UC-Irvine 18-6. The Anteaters (12-10, 0-5 MPSF) jumped onto the scoreboard early when Larson Pfeil scored after a Stanford ejection. However, the Card bounced right back with a goal of its own when freshman Jackson Kimbell scored two minutes later after a UCI ejection.
Freshman Charlie Wiser put Stanford temporarily ahead with a goal a minute later, but a goal from Kyle Trush helped the Anteaters pull even for the last time. The Stanford exploded with a barrage of goals, and, a minute into the second period, the Card held a 7-2 lead.
UCI did not give in, scoring three more goals before the end of the half, but the Anteater defense could not hold off the Stanford offense, which opened the second half with a 7-0 run to ensure the victory.
Sophomore Bret Bonanni, who entered the weekend as the MPSF scoring leader, led the Cardinal offense with four goals. Sophomore BJ Churnside scored a hat trick, while four of his teammates added two goals apiece. Freshman goalie Drew Holland racked up 10 saves as the defense continued to shine.
On Saturday afternoon, Stanford tore apart Chapman University (7-9, 4-3 SCIAC) to cruise to a 24-7 win. The Cardinal scored early and often, and, by the time the final whistle was blown, 12 different Cardinal players had racked up at least one goal.
Stanford got an early 3-0 lead in the first quarter with goals from Kimbell, junior Alex Bowen and junior Conner Cleary. The Panthers managed to claw their way back into the game with a pair of goals that cut the lead to 4-2, but sophomore Adam Abdulhamid and senior Nick Hoversten scored to finish the first period with a 6-2 Cardinal lead.
Brett Carter opened the second quarter by netting his second goal of the game for Chapman, but Kimbell and Rudolph answered with two goals each to extend the lead to 10-3. By halftime, Stanford led 14-5.
The Cardinal defense shut down the Panther offense in the second half, holding Chapman to only two goals while the Stanford offense ran up the score with 10 more goals.
Kimbell paced the offense with four goals, while Abdulhamid and Rudolph each added hat tricks.
After its two resounding victories on Friday and Saturday, the Cardinal faced a more difficult test in a nail-biter against No. 8 Long Beach State. After four quarters of nearly even play, the Card held on to earn 11-8 win against the 49ers (18-10, 1-5 MPSF).
Long Beach State put pressure on the Cardinal early, jumping out to a 2-1 lead. Bonanni evened the score, but Nolan McConnell answered back to put the 49ers back on top. Both teams traded goals before Abdulhamid netted a buzzer-beater to tie the game at 4-4 at the end of the first quarter.
The momentum shifted in favor of the Cardinal in the second quarter thanks to three straight goals that put the score at 7-5 entering halftime. With the game at 9-6 entering the fourth quarter, Bonanni and Churnside gave Stanford some breathing room with a goal each.
The 49ers offense started to pick up late in the fourth quarter with a pair of goal from Ricardo Guimares and Zacchary Kappos, but the Cardinal defense didn’t relent, and Stanford picked up the win.
Hoping to continue riding the positive momentum from its weekend trip, Stanford will travel down to Southern California once more next weekend to take on USC, which is currently tied for third in the MPSF.
Contact Luke Asperger at lukea17 ‘at’ stanford.edu.