No. 1 women’s water polo falls to familiar foe in Kalbus Invitational final

Feb. 28, 2017, 12:51 a.m.

No. 1 Stanford women’s water polo earned a 3-1 record this weekend at the Kalbus Invitational as the Cardinal moved past No. 22 CSUN (10-12) 16-5 on Friday and No. 8 Michigan (10-7) and No. 4 Cal (11-2) on Saturday before falling 10-9 to No. 2 USC (18-0) in overtime.

Six Cardinal players scored multiple goals on Friday as Stanford rolled past CSUN for their tournament opener. Senior Maggie Steffens scored three times, while freshman Makenzie Fischer, sophomores Kat Klass and twins Cassidy and Mackenzie Wiley each notched two goals.

The Cardinal (11-1), who entered Saturday having outscored their opponents 42-8 in first halves, started fast as they scored nine times in the first half of their contest against the Wolverines, taking a commanding 9-1 lead at the break.

Senior Jamie Neushul got Stanford going as she posted a hat-trick in just the first quarter to put the Cardinal ahead, 3-0. Junior Katie Dudley and Steffens added one apiece to finish the opening period.

The second quarter was all Cardinal, as four different Stanford players scored, while senior goalkeeper Gabby Stone posted a game-high six saves to keep Michigan scoreless for the quarter.

During the second half, the teams scored four goals apiece as Steffens completed her hat-trick in the third quarter while senior Julia Hermann recorded two saves after she entered the pool in the fourth quarter.

Later that day, Fischer and Steffens surged against the Bears, combining for nine of the Cardinal’s 12 goals. Fischer and Steffens scored as many times as all Cal players combined.

Fischer racked up five scores, finding the net twice in in the first and third periods and once in the second. Steffens, on the other hand, gave Stanford a score in each of the four quarters. With her performance, Steffens passes Margie Dingeldein to move into fifth Stanford all-time scoring list with 191 career goals. With months of competition remaining, Steffens will likely be become the fifth Stanford player to score over 200 goals later this season.

Steffens opened scoring for Stanford before Cal evened up the score. Fischer’s pair of goals in the first quarter allowed the Cardinal to jump to a 3-1 lead before the second. The two teams then traded goals in the following two quarters, scoring seven apiece in that spread, so the Cardinal entered the final period sitting on a 10-8 lead.

The Cardinal once again started the quarter fast, scoring twice in the first three minutes. Cal would eventually score one late in the game to reduce Stanford’s lead to three goals.

Stone, who played the whole game in the cage for the Cardinal, notched seven saves, four of which came on 5-on-6 plays.

Despite two strong performances to advance to the final, USC managed to slip by the Cardinal in overtime. The two finalists of last year’s NCAA tournament were neck and neck throughout the game, as the largest lead of the contest was a two-goal advantage.

USC first went up 3-1 early, but scores by Fischer and Steffens allowed the Cardinal to close the gap. At the half, the Cardinal were down by one.

After the intermission, the Trojans again earned a two-point lead, but a pair of goals by junior Jordan Raney again evened the score at five. Steffens scored Stanford’s only two goals of the last quarter, as she notched her fifth straight hat-trick.

In overtime, USC jumped to a 9-8 lead in the first period before Fischer scored her fourth goal to even the score with less than a minute to go in the second period. Five seconds prior to the clock’s expiration, USC scored the decisive goal on a 6-on-5 play, putting an end to the Cardinal’s eleven game winning streak.

Stanford returns to action on March 11 as it heads to Arizona State for its conference opener.


Contact Alexandre Bucquet at bucqueta ‘at’


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