For Senior Day on Sunday, the No. 4 Cardinal water polo team (16-4, 0-2 MPSF) faced off against the No. 6 Pacific Tigers (9-10, 3-1 GCC) and won 16-11. Three Stanford players — graduate student driver Tyler Abramson, redshirt senior 2MD Parker Killion and redshirt senior 2M Spencer Nelson — were honored for their contributions to the team since they entered the program in 2017.
The amount of penalties — specifically exclusions — during the game was notable. Pacific and Stanford had 10 and 12 exclusions, respectively, and the Cardinal also received one yellow card. Stanford was 3-for-6 on power plays.
Fans of both teams were not happy with the calls, and multiple people in the stands audibly chided and mocked the referees.
“Last weekend, the refs allowed a lot more to go, and there were not many exclusions,” Killion said. “The game was allowed to be much more physical than today.”
The game started out hot with both sides exchanging goals and penalties. After a heated timeout, Stanford ended the first quarter up 5-4.
Stanford started the second quarter with the same momentum and went on a 4-1 scoring run, which included multiple impressive defensive stops. After a Pacific timeout, the Tigers slowly cut the deficit to two, ending the half with the Cardinal up 10-8.
The second half, on the other hand, moved more slowly. Stanford held Pacific to only three goals, largely thanks to sophomore goalie Nolan Krutonog, who saved 13 goals over the course of the game. The game ended in a 16-11 Stanford victory, despite a last-minute counterattack from Pacific’s Gil Gvishi.
After missing two games last week, senior driver Quinn Woodhead returned to the pool. He contributed one fourth quarter goal.
Following the game, the three seniors were honored in the senior ceremony.
“The leadership skills that we have learned in our last five years here, the ability to work with others, to get along, to match different personalities are all skills that will translate well into the workforce and into whatever we all do with our lives,” Abramson said, reflecting on his five years in the program.
The three-time MPSF champion is currently eighth all-time in scoring for the Cardinal. He added three more goals to his total versus Pacific, tying junior driver Larsen Weigle for the most points on the day.
All three seniors helped Stanford win the national title in 2019, and all three have performed in the classroom, too, winning MPSF All-Academic awards.
“Growing up in the water polo system, Stanford has always been a dream,” Nelson said, of his time on the Farm. “To accomplish that dream and get to play at this facility every single day … you take it for granted. And then one day you are a fifth-year senior, ready to leave. Everything we have done in the pool is a great indicator for what our and the team’s futures will look like. I am so thankful for the opportunity to represent Stanford.”
But time in the pool is not quite over for the three seniors and the rest of the Cardinal. Up next, Stanford plays at UC Berkeley on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. PT.