By Kit Ramgopal
No. 1 Stanford women’s water polo crushed cross-town rival No. 4 Cal to complete an undefeated sweep of the 2017 Stanford invitational. No. 20 Loyola Marymount, No. 8 Hawaii, and No. 6 UC Irvine all fell to Stanford at the Avery Aquatic Center, upping Stanford’s home record to 92-6 since 2008.
Freshman Makenzie Fischer led the charge in Stanford’s 19-8 assault of No. 20 Loyola Marymount. The freshman driver contributed a season-high four goals, two of which were in the first frame. Fischer added her name to the list of Cardinal offensive veterans — including senior driver Maggie Steffens, senior driver Jamie Neushul, and sophomore driver Madison Berggren— to score four times in a game this season.
Stanford scored six goals in each of the first two periods to nail a 12-4 score by halftime. Senior Dani Jackovich scored a season-high three goals, bringing Stanford’s offensive momentum into the second half with a third goal midway through the third quarter. Both teams netted two points in the fourth quarter — Stanford’s goals came from senior driver Cassidy Wiley and freshman driver Lauren Bywater, the first goal of the year for both players.
In the second game against No. 8 Hawaii, Stanford came out on top 12-5. Fischer, Steffens and junior defender Jordan Raney came out strong to net three goals in the first quarter. When Hawaii opened with a goal to begin the second, the Cardinal responded with three more before halftime. Fischer put home two scores in the fourth quarter to cement the victory.
On Saturday, Stanford opened against UC Irvine in a bracket-deciding match-up. UC Irvine came into the match after a 9-8 loss to Hawaii and a 9-5 victory over LMU. The Anteaters fell 11-4, sunk by multi-goal efforts from Jackovich, Neushul and Raney. Neushul scored two for Stanford in the opening quarter. The Cardinal exploded with five goals in the third quarter to make a 5-2 game a 10-2 blowout.
The win over UC Irvine propelled Stanford into a battle with the Golden Bears. While Stanford never trailed to Cal, the No.1-No.4 matchup certainly had Stanford fans nervous by the Avery sidelines. The Cardinal put in the first four goals, with Cal’s Dora Antal barely squeezing a point into the first quarter with just four seconds on the clock. Riding that momentum into the second quarter, Cal returned with three more to even up play.
Cal’s offensive dynamic slowed in the third quarter after Antal nailed a goal five minutes in to bring her total to a game-high four. Eventually, the Cardinal came out on top with a 6-2 run in the final 21:21, closing with a 10-7 margin of victory. Sophomore driver Kat Klass and Neushul both nailed hat tricks, with Neushul scoring five times total throughout the day. Senior goalkeeper Gabby Stone made eight crucial saves against Cal, totaling 15 on the day.
Stanford continues play in the Cal Speedo Cup at Berkeley against Santa Clara on Saturday, Feb. 18.
Contact Kit Ramgopal at kramgopa ‘at’ stanford.edu.