By Jacob Neidig
Stanford’s women’s water polo team has officially added five new members after the first few days of the Fall National Signing Period. The 2019 NCAA champions signed Bella Bachler (Atherton, CA/ Sacred Heart Prep), Eleanor Facey (Menlo Park, CA/Sacred Heart Prep), Alissa Pinciroli Pascual (Miami, FL/Gulliver Prep), Sophia Sanders (La Jolla, CA/The Bishop’s School) and Shaye Story (Mililani, HI/Kamehameha High School).
The 2021 signing class is comprised of three attackers, one 2-meter, and a versatile player who has experience as both an attacker and a defender.
The newest members of the decorated water polo program will join a 2020-21 team that had hopes to defend its national title and was ranked #2 (15-1, 1-0 MPSF) before COVID-19 cut the season short.
Two of the newest Cardinal athletes, Bachler and Facey, are high school teammates at Sacred Heart Prep, which is just up the road from The Farm. Bachler, an attacker, was a USA Water Polo All-American in 2019 and the captain of a team that won the CIF-CCS Open Division Championship in 2019 and won the Western Catholic Athletic League Championship three times.
Bachler’s Sacred Heart Prep counterpart, Facey, plays 2-meter and brings in an impressive swimming skillset. Facey is a CIF-CCS qualifier in the 500 freestyle, a notoriously gruesome event. During her junior year, Facey helped lead Sacred Heart Prep to the previously mentioned CIF-CCS Open Division Championship in 2019 by scoring 73 goals and shooting 52.5% on the season. Facey has received countless accolades including San Mateo Daily Journal Player of the Year, NISCA All-American and Best Player of the Tournament while competing on the 2019 USA Water Polo ODP Girls Futures international team in Budapest, Hungary.
Pascual, an attacker, hails from Miami, Florida and brings in a tradition of water polo. Her mother was the captain of the Brazilian water polo team for 15 years and her grandfather played in three Olympic games. Pascual herself is a member of the Brazilian National Water Polo team and competed at the Junior World Championships and the Pan American Games. In high school, she was an NISCA All American and the 2019 Miami Herald Water Polo Athletic Award.
The final attacker in the 2025 class is Sanders. She was a five-time National Junior Olympics All-American and three-time Union Tribute Athlete of the Week/Month. Sanders led her high school, The Bishop’s School, to the CIF State Championship and was also awarded the San Diego Section All CIF Player of the Year.
The final recruit, Story, is a versatile athlete who can play both attacker and defender. In high school, Story won the 2020 Interscholastic League of Honolulu (ILH) swimming championship in both the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:52.96 and the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:58.38. A strong swimming background with the ability to play multiple positions will make Story a great addition for head coach John Tanner. In addition to her success swimming, Story was a Junior Olympics All American and a member of the USA Futures national team.
Tanner will look to integrate these five players early and often after they arrive on The Farm. Last year, Tanner showed a strong sense of how to successfully incorporate underclassmen as Stanford utilized three freshmen with 10+ goals including now-sophomore driver Hannah Constandse, an MPSF All Newcomer and honorable mention All-American.
Contact Jacob Neidig at jhneidig ‘at’ stanford.edu.