By Cybele Zhang
No. 1 men’s water polo (13-1, 0-0 MPSF) cemented its top ranking with two more victories this weekend on a trip to Southern California. First, the Cardinal defeated No. 8 California State University, Long Beach (10-8, 0-0 GCC) on Saturday 11-5, then travelled to Orange County, where they beat No. 13 University of California, Irvine (16-7, 0-0 GCC). These two victories place Stanford on a nine-game win-streak.
This weekend also highlighted the depth on the Cardinal roster. Despite possessing lethal scorers like senior driver Bennett Williams and redshirt junior 2-meter Ben Hallock, Stanford did a great job spreading the ball around and setting forth a very balanced offense. The weekend featured 13 different scorers, accounting for 27 total goals.
The Cardinal won the last fourteen match-ups against Long Beach, a streak dating back to 2011. In the team’s most recent meeting at the MPSF Tournament on Sep. 28, Stanford came away with the closely contended 14-13 victory. In contrast, this weekend’s match-up showcased a more dominant Cardinal.
The first quarter in Ken Lindgren Aquatics Center was all Stanford. Williams opened things up with back-to-back goals, and freshman driver Larsen Weigle followed up with a goal of his own.
Long Beach State (LBSU) began to find its footing in the second quarter, and junior center Quinten Osborne, a transfer from UCLA, found the back of the net. The Cardinal sustained momentum, however, as junior driver Tyler Abramson scored to increase Stanford’s lead to 4-1.
LBSU and Stanford exchanged points, and Williams scored his second of the game to make the score 5-2. Only three minutes remained in the half, but the scoring continued into the last seconds. Sophomore 2-meter AJ Rossman scored with 2:55 left off an assist from sophomore driver Quinn Woodhead. But the Cardinal defense began to falter and allowed two LBSU goals to close out the half, 6-4.
The second half was almost all Stanford, as they allowed the 49ers to score only a single goal in the third quarter. On the other side of the pool, however, the Cardinal offense shined. Despite impressive goalkeeping by Long Beach State’s Andrej Bosanac, who had 10 saves, Stanford was simply too much. Hallock, Williams, Rossman, sophomore 2-meter Jackson Seybold and Abramson each scored to finish out the game strong.
The Cardinal outshot Long Beach State 28-21, while senior goalkeeper Andrew Chun collected five saves.
Stanford carried this momentum into Sunday’s victory against UC Irvine. Historically the Cardinal have been dominant versus UCI, winning the last ten of their meetings. Stanford’s well balanced attack ensured that Sunday was no different.
Stanford found the back of the net first with a goal from Abramson. UC Irvine evened the score two minutes later. Senior driver Dylan Woodhead and freshman Quinn Woodhead secured the lead for the Cardinal with two goals each, and freshman center Beck Jurasius closed out the first quarter with another goal off an assist by Quinn Woodhead.
Stanford entered the second quarter up 4-1. The Cardinal scored three in a row: one from Rossman and two from Hallock. The Anteaters countered with one of their own, narrowing the score slightly to 7-2. But it was too little, too late as momentum was already going in Stanford’s favor. Seybold and freshman 2-meter Andrew Churkian added one each for the Cardinal, lengthening the lead to 9-2 at the half.
Like the LBSU game, Hallock led the charge in the second half and scored first, followed less than a minute later by another goal from Abramson. UCI scored two more in the third, but the Stanford’s offensive depth came out on top. The Cardinal spread the ball around and recorded four more goals in the half from three different players. Redshirt sophomore 2-meter Parker Killion scored at both 4:45 and 2:07, Rossman at 4:08 and redshirt sophomore Spencer Nelson in the final second.
Stanford entered the fourth quarter up, 15-4. Sophomore driver Nik Caryotakis tacked on one more, but UC Irvine was only able to rack up three more. Chun proved a force to be reckoned with, turning away 11 shots over the course of the game.
Stanford now has a two week break and will play next at home versus Pepperdine on Oct. 27. The game is set to begin at noon PST at Avery Aquatics Center.
Contact Cybele Zhang at cybelez ‘at’ stanford.edu.