No. 1 men’s water polo (11-1, 0-0 MPSF) claimed an 11-8 victory against No. 3 Pacific on Sunday afternoon (10-2, 0-0 GCC), extending Stanford’s winning streak to six games. Entering the weekend, both teams had a 10-1 record, with Pacific’s only loss having been against the Cardinal in the SoCal Invitational.
The teams were well matched and finished the third quarter tied. It all came down to a closely-fought fourth quarter, in which Stanford finished on top.
The Tigers entered the game ready for revenge in their home pool. Just a week earlier, the Cardinal narrowly defeated Pacific 15-14 in Los Angeles in the semifinals of the SoCal Invitational, which Stanford went on to win.
Sophomore two-meter defender AJ Rossman kicked things off with an early goal in the first thirty seconds for the Cardinal, but momentum soon shifted. In the next five minutes, the Tigers, cheered on by a packed crowd, scored four unanswered points.
With less than two minutes left in the first quarter, Stanford once again found the back of the net. Sophomore hole set Jackson Seybold tacked on another goal with an assist from sophomore driver Quinn Woodhead, but the Cardinal still ended the quarter down 2-4.
The Cardinal offense quickly regained momentum in the second quarter, however, coming back with five more goals and only allowing one from the Tigers. Junior driver Tyler Abramson scored within the first thirty seconds, fueling Stanford’s attack. Quinn Woodhead, senior driver Bennett Williams and senior driver Dylan Woodhead also found the back of the net as Stanford ended the opening half with a 7-5 lead.
In the beginning of the third quarter, Pacific tied the game 7-7, coming out with two quick goals. The Cardinal countered, however, and Abramson scored his second of the game off an assist by Williams.
The scoreline was 8-7, and it all came down to the fourth quarter. Just 36 seconds in, redshirt junior two-meter Ben Hallock, who was uncharacteristically quiet for the beginning of the game, scored his first goal with an assist from Abramson, giving Stanford the momentum they needed. Rossman scored his third of the game just 40 seconds later, also off an Abramson assist.
With the score 10-7 and less than four minutes remaining, the momentarily stifled Tigers pounced back. Senior attacker Engin Ege Colak found the back of the net, but it proved to be too little, too late. Twenty-nine seconds after Pacific’s goal, the ever present Abramson put the nail in the Tiger’s coffin with a goal assisted by Dylan Woodhead, securing the final score of 11-8.
Although Pacific slightly outshot the Cardinal 37-32, Stanford had a superior shooting percentage — 0.344 percent to the Tigers’ 0.216 percent. Senior goalkeeper Andrew Chun recorded eight saves.
Abramson and Rossman led Stanford in scoring with three goals each. It was a breakout game for Rossman, who tied his season-high three goals against Princeton from Sept. 7. He proved to be a reliable attacking threat against a skilled defense, bringing lots of pressure with a team-high six shots.
Stanford plays next at Santa Clara on Wednesday at 4 p.m. PST, followed by a weekend double-header down south against Long Beach State on Saturday and UC Irvine on Sunday.
Contact Cybele Zhang at cybelez ‘at’ stanford.edu and Natalie Hilderbrand at nhilderbrand ‘at’ stanford.edu.