Women’s water polo trades wins with Bruins at Avery

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No. 2 Stanford women’s water polo (6-2, 4-2 MPSF) split two matches against No. 3 UCLA (5-1, 3-1 MPSF) over the weekend. The Cardinal won Saturday’s contest 12-11, but the Bruins returned the favor with an 11-10 victory on Sunday.

The Cardinal was efficient in its win on Saturday, shooting .522. The team jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter thanks to two goals from junior 2-meter defender Chloe Harbilas, who finished with three goals on both Saturday and Sunday. From there the Cardinal was able to maintain control of the game thanks to a 10-save performance from redshirt senior goalkeeper Emalia Eichelberger.

The end of the first quarter on Sunday left the Cardinal only one goal behind its opponent, 3-4, but the Bruins would pull away in the second quarter. A score from Stanford sophomore 2-meters Lexi Rowell to tie the game at four at the start of the quarter was promptly returned, as three different UCLA players scored four goals to leave the Cardinal trailing 4-8 at the half.

A normally productive Cardinal offense was halted by turnovers. Offensive fouls ended three possessions, while five total takeaways from UCLA’s goalkeeper Georgia Phillips and attacker Lexi Leibowitz stifled most of the other opportunities for the Cardinal. 

Senior driver Sarah Klass, who scored a hat trick in six straight matches, including Saturday’s win, was remarkably cold. She could only find the back of the goal once on Sunday, which was part of a five-goal rally to tie the game, 9-9, in the second half. 

The rally wasn’t enough. Down just one goal with a minute remaining in the Sunday contest, Stanford managed two shots, which were both saved by Phillips to ice the game. 

The opponents won’t get easier for the Cardinal. The team will travel to Los Angeles and face the top-ranked USC Trojans (10-0, 4-0 MPSF) on April 10.

A previous version of this article referred to the UCLA goalkeeper as Jahmea Bent, not Georgia Phillips. The Daily regrets this error.

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Michael Espinosa '22 is majoring in international relations. He's the head of The Daily's social media team, and editor for the University beat and also occasionally writes for sports, arts, and The Grind. He's the biggest Taylor Swift fan at Stanford and the proudest New Yorker you will ever meet. Contact him at mespinosa 'at' stanforddaily.com.