No. 1 UCLA men’s water polo (22-0, 2-0 MPSF) pulled off a victory against No. 6 Stanford (12-4, 0-2) in the final minutes of a tight game this Saturday in Los Angeles.
Led by senior attacker Patrick Fellner’s three goals, including the game-winner with 1:47 remaining, the Bruins managed to contain Stanford’s offense in the final seconds of the game. With the win, the Bruins extended their undefeated season record as well as their record-breaking winning streak, which has reached an impressive 55 games.
Although Stanford was never ahead of UCLA in points, the young Cardinal showcased a solid performance, remaining in step with two-time defending champion UCLA for much of the match. After being down 4-2 at the end of the first period, Stanford came back strong and tied it up to 6-6, before Fellner put it away for the Bruins.
Five different members of the Cardinal scored during the game: Junior driver Mitchell Mendoza scored twice, while sophomore two-meter Marco Stanchi, junior two-meter Harrison Enright, senior driver Sam Pfeil, junior driver Cody Smith and junior two-meter Spencer Rogers each tacked on goals of their own. Their performance showcased the efficient balance that the team has achieved despite adding several new freshmen this season and the losing some of their top scorers to graduation last year.
Ultimately, Stanford scored six goals fewer than their 12.3 season average, but also managed to hold the Bruins’ offense – which had been averaging 19.1 goals per game – to just seven scores. This defensive aptitude from both ends conveyed the competitiveness of the match.
Despite not scoring during the Bruin matchup, sophomore Blake Parrish still leads the Stanford offense with 36 goals. Thanks to his two goals during the game, Mendoza now has posted the second-highest total with 30 scores and Smith has improved to 27 goals.
Freshman driver Bennett Williams still leads the Cardinal recruits with 18 goals this season and is the second-best scorer among first-year players in the MPSF.
Junior goalkeeper Oliver Lewis played the entire match for the Cardinal, saving his team seven times, which is four shy of his 10.9 season average. The Bruins also didn’t have too many clean attempts at goal given a tight defense posted by the Cardinal.
For his part, UCLA senior goalkeeper Garrett Danner posted eight saves for his team as Stanford attackers attempted to gain the lead.
Up next, Stanford will host No. 4 Pacific at Avery Aquatic Center at 10 a.m. next Saturday.
Contact Alexandre Bucquet at bucqueta ‘at’ stanford.edu.