Bonanni, Holland break records as water polo cruises in SoCal

Nov. 2, 2015, 3:35 a.m.

This weekend the No. 5 Stanford men’s water polo team (18-6, 4-3 MPSF) traveled to Southern California, defeating both No. 8 Long Beach State (9-12, 1-5) and No. 7 UC Irvine (11-9, 1-5). The Cardinal beat the 49ers 12-8 on Saturday and then shut out the Anteaters, winning 7-0 on Sunday in a historic weekend for the Cardinal.

History was first made on Saturday as senior Bret Bonanni scored 6 goals in the Cardinal’s 12-8 victory over Long Beach State, in the process becoming the Stanford and MPSF all-time leading scorer. Before the game, he was one goal shy of tying Stanford legend Tony Azevedo’s previous record of 332 goals, accumulated from 2001-04. Now, Bonanni holds the record with 339 goals, adding 2 more on Sunday’s game against the Anteaters.

“This record is a tribute to all the great players I’ve played with at my time here at Stanford,” Bonanni said. “Tony was my idol when I started playing and still is today. With all of the things he has accomplished and everything he has done within our sport, it’s an honor to be noted as even remotely close to his caliber of play.”

Although Bonanni’s record-tying goal put Stanford up 2-0, Long Beach State answered back with three goals of its own to take a one-point lead as the quarter closed. The senior’s next goal, the one that would break Azevedo’s total, came as the first half came to a close. With the game tied, Bonanni launched a bullet that bounced off the far post and then into the cage, netting his 333rd career goal, making history and putting Stanford up 5-4 heading into halftime.

While Long Beach State notched the first goal when play resumed, senior B.J. Churnside put the Cardinal back on the board, and Bonanni added two more in the third quarter, putting Stanford ahead 8-7. In the final quarter Churnside and junior Connor Stapleton each scored again for Stanford, and Bonanni added another pair to round off the Stanford’s victory.

Sunday’s game against UC Irvine featured another conference record for a Cardinal player, as junior goalkeeper Drew Holland recorded an MPSF single-game record of 23 saves.  He crushed his previous personal high of 13 saves, which he had posted three times already this season.

Between Holland’s stellar performance and the rest of the Cardinal defense, the Anteaters were unable to score a single goal, as Stanford dominated the scoresheet in a 7-0 victory, the second shutout of the season for Stanford. 

Churnside and sophomore Cody Smith scored in the first quarter, giving Stanford a 2-0 lead.  In the second quarter, Churnside added another goal, while Bonanni tallied one for himself, putting the Cardinal up 4-0 at the end of the first half.

With a little over two minutes left in the third period, Bonanni scored on a penalty shot, and with 50 seconds remaining in the quarter, senior Adam Warmoth netted a goal.  Churnside scored in the fourth quarter on a penalty shot, completing his hat trick.

The Cardinal look strong as they gear up for the final three games of the regular season, which will all take place at home.  The team next faces Pepperdine at the Avery Aquatic Center on Friday at 7 p.m.


Contact Selby Sturzenegger at selby ‘at’

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