By Jeremy Rubin
No. 1 Stanford (1-2, 1-2 MPSF) began its 2021 season exactly where the team left off nearly 14 months ago — with a win. The Cardinal defeated USC 14-8 on Saturday before dropping a pair to UCLA and Cal on Sunday in a round-robin among the four teams hosted by the Trojans.
Junior driver Quinn Woodhead and sophomore 2M Beck Jurasius collected three goals each in the USC victory, but it was redshirt freshman driver Walker Seymour who scored the first goal of the season for the Cardinal, less than a minute into play. Defensively, after allowing six goals in the first period, redshirt senior goalkeeper Andrew Chun let just two shots hit the back of the net the rest of the contest against the Trojans.
Sunday was a different story for the Cardinal, as the team struggled against the two UC schools. Stanford’s defense was porous in both contests, giving up 15 goals to UCLA and 16 to Cal. The Cardinal was outscored a combined 12-5 on the day in the second quarter alone, and unlike in the USC game, these early deficits proved to be too much to overcome. Stanford lost to UCLA 15-13 and to Cal 16-11.
Jurasius was a bright spot in the Sunday doubleheader, scoring twice in the first game and thrice in the second. His eight goals on the weekend represent the highest mark on the Cardinal. Freshman driver Ethan Parrish found the back of the net six times, and Woodhead finished with five through the first three games.
The strong offensive outputs from multiple sources bode well for a Cardinal team now without 2M Ben Hallock ‘20, who graduated last year. A two-time Peter J. Cutino Award winner, Hallock finished his final year on the Farm with 73 goals out of Stanford’s 358 total — roughly 20% of his team’s offensive output. This year’s team will be tasked with matching his presence in the middle and scoring prowess.
Before Saturday, the last time in the water for men’s water polo was Dec. 8, 2019. On that day, the team put the finishing touches on a masterful, NCAA Championship winning season — the program’s first since 2002. Hallock and junior 2MD AJ Rossman finished with hat tricks in the decisive 13-8 title game win over Pacific.
Next up for the Cardinal’s title defense will be another matchup against each of the same three California foes. Stanford will regroup and prepare to welcome USC, UCLA and Cal to the Farm on Feb. 20 and 21 for another round-robin.
Stanford’s first match will be against UCLA at 10 a.m. PT on Saturday, followed by a 6:30 p.m. PT nightcap against USC. The Cardinal will finish the weekend with a 6:30 p.m. PT contest against Cal.