On a weekend in which it seemed the Stanford men’s water polo team (10-1) was playing among boys and not men, No. 2 Stanford beat all of its four opponents by an average margin of just under 21 points. For two of the Cardinal men it was a landmark weekend, as head coach John Vargas earned his 250th career win in the second match of the tournament, a 25-1 victory over Occidental, and junior driver Bret Bonanni became just the sixth Stanford player to reach the 200-goal milestone in the team’s third game of the weekend, beating No. 18 Navy 24-4.
Senior utility Alex Bowen had reached the 200-goal mark in the previous weekend’s play at the Kap7 NorCal Classic. Bowen (213 career goals) and Bonanni (204 career goals) are third and fifth, respectively, on Stanford’s all-time goal list. Bonanni also received recognition earlier in the week when he was the only American named as one of six finalists for FINA Men’s Water Polo Athlete of the Year.
At the Aggie Shootout this past weekend, Stanford held its opponents to just 3.25 goals per game, while averaging 24 itself. Stanford easily handled the two ranked opponents it faced, No. 18 Navy and No. 19 Whittier. Eleven Cardinal players scored in the defeat of Navy, led by Bowen’s five. Bonanni’s 200th goal came early in the third quarter. Stanford was 6-8 on power plays and had 40 attempted shots on goal.
In their final game of the tournament, the Card again routed a top-20 opponent, topping Whittier with a score of 21-5. The margin of victory was actually its smallest of the tournament and the game marked the most goals conceded to an opponent all weekend. After the first eight minutes of play, the Cardinal only led 5-2; however, they quickly went on a tear and scored 10 of the next 11 goals of the game. Bonanni and junior driver B.J. Churnside led all scorers with four goals apiece. Sophomore goalkeeper Drew Holland recorded five saves in the win.
Stanford returns to the Farm for its first home game of the season this Saturday at Avery Aquatic Center at 10:30 a.m. before traveling back to Davis to take on the Aggies Sunday at 12 p.m.
Contact Ashley Westhem at awesthem ‘at’ stanford.edu.