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No. 2 women’s water polo downs No. 3 Irvine to remain undefeated

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Despite an early lead, No. 3 UC Irvine (4-2, 0-0 MPSF) fell 10-9 to No. 2 Stanford (5-0, 0-0 MPSF) to conclude the 2020 Cal Cup in Berkeley on Sunday. With the win, the Cardinal remain undefeated with a five-game win streak. 

Stanford initially looked overmatched, as Irvine scored three straight goals to open up the scoring for both sides. The first goal came with 4:37 remaining in the first quarter, followed by another just 20 seconds later. A third goal, at the 2:38 mark in the period, put Stanford into a 0-3 deficit. 

Junior driver Sarah Klass, however, scored with 1:22 left in the first frame to give Stanford momentum heading into the second period. This was the first of four goals for Klass on the day.

Stanford dominated the second quarter to close the gap and entered the half tied at five apiece. Goals by freshman 2-meter defender Sophie Wallace and senior driver Hannah Shabb followed another Anteater score to close the gap to one.

Sophomore 2-meter defender Chloe Harbilas’ score at the 2:00 mark before the halfway point again brought the game within one, and Wallace’s second goal of the quarter with just 0:18 remaining on the clock capped off the Stanford comeback. 

From there, Stanford flipped the script on Irvine, opening the second half with three straight goals of their own. Two of the three came courtesy of Klass, and the third was from senior driver Lauren Bywater.

After the initial scoring, redshirt junior goalkeeper Emalia Eichelberger and the rest of the Cardinal defense effectively slowed the Anteater attack. Eichelberger finished with 14 saves, just two away from her career high.

Irvine was the fourth ranked team that Stanford defeated in their first five games of the season. 

Following a convincing, season-opening 13-5 win over No. 18 San Jose State, the team entered the Cardinal Cup with high expectations. They left with three victories in three games against No. 12 UC Davis, No. 13 Fresno State and No. 3 Irvine. Klass also scored five and four goals, respectively, in the first two contests, to bring her total up to 13 on the weekend.

The Cardinal will play on the Farm for the first time this season for the Stanford Invitational on Feb. 1-2. They seek to maintain their undefeated record against a trio of competitors.

The first game is set to begin at 9 a.m. PST against Indiana, followed by Michigan at 5:15 p.m. and Cal at 11 a.m. the following day. All games will take place at the Avery Aquatic Center.

Contact Jeremy Rubin at jjmrubin ‘at’ stanford.edu

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