By Jeremy Rubin
Following an impressive showing at the Cal Cup last weekend, No. 2 women’s water polo (5-0, 0-0 MPSF) will host a trio of games this weekend at the Avery Aquatic Center.
Against No. 5 UC Irvine on Jan. 26, despite an initial 3-0 deficit, Stanford stormed back to secure a 10-9 victory. Much like the entire weekend, junior driver Sarah Klass carried a large portion of the scoring burden for the Cardinal. Her four goals were a team-high, and she scored a combined 13 in total last weekend. She was named MPSF Player-of-the-Week on Wednesday for her performance.
Stanford also handily beat No. 12 UC Davis 19-9, and then No. 13 Fresno 10-4, over the weekend. Freshman driver Hannah Constandse’s five goals against the Aggies played a major role in the victory.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the team’s most recent success, however, has been on the defensive end. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Emalia Eichelberger finished just two saves short of her career high in the Irvine game. Against Fresno State, this time with sophomore goalkeeper Thea Walsh protecting the net, the Cardinal allowed just four goals on 24 shots. Walsh had 11 saves in the contest.
With recent USA Water Polo Hall of Fame inductee coach John Tanner at the helm, Stanford is no stranger to success. The Cardinal were crowned NCAA Champions last season, which was Tanner’s 22nd title and the seventh in his tenure. Tanner’s career winning percentage at the Farm is now well above .800, and last year he was named the ACWPC National Coach of the Year for the sixth time.
This weekend, the Cardinal will prepare to take on three ranked teams in front of their home crowd for the first time all season. In the past 12 years, Stanford is a career 111-10 on the Farm.
Stanford will battle against No. 11 UC Davis and No. 7 Michigan on Saturday, followed by a clash against No. 6 Cal on Sunday. They continue on a difficult stretch of play for Stanford, as the team has played against four ranked opponents out of five games total.
The tip-off is set for Saturday at 11:15 a.m. PST against UC Davis, followed by Michigan at 4:45 p.m. PST and finally Cal on Sunday at 11 a.m. PST. All games will take place at the Avery Aquatic Center.
Contact Jeremy Rubin at jjmrubin ‘at’ stanford.edu