For the first time this season, No. 1 Stanford men’s water polo (17-1, 0-1 MPSF) lost a game, falling to No. 3 UCLA (17-1, 1-0 MPSF) by a score of 10-6. Despite being tied with the Bruins in the first half, the Cardinal’s perfect season screeched to a halt at their first official MPSF tournament.
Within the first 22 seconds of the game, junior driver Ethan Parrish scored the Cardinal’s first goal. With another power-play goal, Stanford led 2-1 by the end of the first quarter.
However, in the second quarter, the Bruins’ offense surged back, scoring three times to tie it up 4-4 by halftime. In a reversal of Stanford and UCLA’s last matchup — where UCLA went scoreless in the final eight minutes — the Cardinal experienced a scoring drought of their own, during which the Bruins scored six goals, taking a lead from which Stanford could not recover.
Leading the way for Stanford was junior driver Jackson Painter with a hat trick. Following him was Parrish, with two goals, and redshirt freshman 2M Jack Martin. Junior goalkeeper Nolan Krutonog made just three saves — a stark contrast to the 13 saves he made during the Cardinal’s last matchup against UCLA.
This loss ends the Cardinal’s perfect record this season. Stanford was the only collegiate team to remain undefeated in the nation until just recently. Despite having a new coach this year, Stanford had the best start to a season since 2001, winning 17 consecutive matches to open the season, as well as recording the highest point total in a single game since 2015.
The Cardinal will play again next weekend with three matchups. Scheduled for Saturday, Stanford will play No. 4 Pacific (17-3, 2-0 WCC) in Stockton, Calif. and then move on to the Julian Fraser Memorial Tournament in Santa Clara, Calif. on Sunday, where the team will face No. 12 Princeton (14-4, 5-0 NWPC) and Bucknell (11-9, 8-3 MAWPC).