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This week in Stanford sports history: May 9-14

Including John Tanner builds a women’s water polo dynasty, NFL draftees, USWNT victory

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With NCAA and professional sports currently on hold due to COVID-19, the month of May looks quite different than in years past. As many may reflect on what 2020 spring sports could have been, here’s a look back on past coverage from the week of May 9-14 in Stanford athletics history.

This article is part of an ongoing series; previous articles are on May 1-7 and May 8.

May 9:

2014: Linebacker Trent Murphy was the first Cardinal to be drafted in the 2014 NFL Draft after he heard his name called on Day 2 by the Washington Redskins. Murphy, who stayed on the Farm for a fifth year, was the 47th overall pick and was selected in the second round.

He made his professional regular season debut in the Redskins’ season-opening 17-6 loss at the Houston Texans, and he became a starter in 2015 before switching to defensive end prior to 2016 training camp. The 2013 NCAA season sack leader (15), he played for Washington until August 10, 2017, when he tore his ACL in the Redskins’ 23-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in their preseason-opener. He then missed the entire season.

The 2013 Consensus All-American ultimately found his way to the Buffalo Bills in March 2018, where he signed a three-year $22.5 million contract. The highlight of Murphy’s 2019 season was his first career interception during Week 2 of the 2019 season, catching a tipped pass from the New York Giants’ Eli Manning during a 28–14 Bills win.

May 10:

2015: Women’s water polo won the national championship for the fifth time in program history, defeating UCLA 7-6 at home.

With 11 seconds on the clock and the game tied, then-senior Kiley Neushul drilled the ball into the bottom right corner past UCLA goalie Sami Hill — on a penalty shot following a controversial call — bringing home the women’s fourth NCAA title in five years.

Neushul completed her senior campaign as the 2015 Peter J. Cutino Award Winner, and was All-NCAA Tournament First Team.

Other notable events from this day:

  • 2014 — Five additional players selected in the NFL Draft (Cameron Fleming, David Yankey, Ed Reynolds, Tyler Gaffney, Ben Gardner)

May 11:

2019: “Despite a three-hour lightning delay on the opening night of the two-day Pac-12 Track and Field Championships in Tucson, Arizona, fifth-year Steven Fahy and senior Mackenzie Little repeated as individual conference champions,” wrote Senior Staff Writer Alejandro Salinas.

Fahy won the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 8:43.85, a Roy P. Drachman Stadium record by nearly four seconds.

Little dominated women’s javelin, extending her winning streak to eight and besting the field by 16 feet. The reigning NCAA champion Australian threw for 194 feet on her first attempt to seal the victory, breaking the 10-year-old meet record by three feet and claiming Stanford’s eighth consecutive women’s javelin conference title.

May 12:

2002: This was the first title for women’s water polo in program history, and it came against UCLA. The Cardinal, coached by John Tanner, won 8-4 in Los Angeles at USC’s home pool.

Then-junior Brenda Villa was leading scorer for the tournament with five goals, and then-junior goalie Jackie Frank was the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

Both women went on to dominate in international water polo after Stanford. Villa is the most decorated athlete in the world of women’s water polo and was named Female Water Polo Player of the Decade for 2000-2009 by the FINA Aquatics World Magazine. The political science major represented Team USA at four Olympics: 2000 (silver medal), 2004 (bronze medal), 2008 (silver medal) and 2012 (gold medal).

Frank played on the U.S. Senior National Team from 1998–2004 and was started in goal since the summer of 2002. She was also part of the 2004 Olympic Team.

Villa and Frank were both inducted into the Stanford Hall of Fame, in 2013 and 2017, respectively.

Other notable events from this day:

  • 2019 — Women’s water polo claims seventh NCAA title in program history
  • 2019 — Three alumnae contribute to USWNT victory at Levi’s Stadium

May 13:

2011: On this day, then-freshman guard/forward Anthony Brown on the men’s basketball team was one of 16 invited to the USA Men’s U-19 World Championship Training Camp.

The SoCal-native ultimately made the final roster and competed for the USA on a squad that placed fifth at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship in Valmiera, Liepaja and Riga, Latvia. Brown appeared in five games — averaging 11.4 minutes, 3.6 points and 1.8 rebounds per game — and shot 38.9% from the field and 25.0% from 3-point range.

The 2015 All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention pick stayed on the Farm for five years before being drafted in 2015 24th overall by the Los Angeles Lakers. Once in the league, Brown was unable to stay on a single team for more than a year and now plays in Spain for Montakit Fuenlabrada in the Liga ACB.

May 14:

2017: Women’s water polo defeated UCLA 8-7 to win the sixth title in program history. The 2017 win, like some of the aforementioned, came down to the final seconds against the Bruins — this time in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The score was tied 7-7 with just nine seconds left on the clock when then-sophomore driver Madison Berggren threaded the ball to then-senior driver Maggie Steffens at the 5-meter mark.

“With a net-rattling shot to the top of the cage, Steffens clinched the national championship for Stanford,” wrote Kit Ramgopal in the original recap.

This title was especially important for all of Cardinal athletics because it was the school’s 113th NCAA title, tying Stanford with UCLA for the most NCAA titles of all time.

In the three years since, however, the Cardinal have widened the gap and now have 126 — while the Bruins have only earned five more since 2017 and are now at 118. USC comes in at third all time with 107, cementing the Pac-12’s dominance across sports and time.

Other notable events from this day:

Contact Cybele Zhang at cybelez ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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Cybele Zhang '22 is majoring in English Literature with a minor in German Studies. The Los Angeles-native has served as Sports Editor, her current position, for both Vol. 257 and 255 and Desk Editor for 256. Her writing covers a wide range of sports, but she especially enjoys writing about athletics' intersection with society, women in sports and NCAA policy. Contact her at [email protected]