No. 3 Stanford men’s water polo (18-1, 0-1 MPSF) got back to its winning ways on Saturday, claiming a top-five victory over No. 4 Pacific (17-4, 2-0 GCC) on the road in Stockton, Calif.
The 12-8 win saw the Cardinal reclaiming the upper hand following their first defeat of the year last weekend by No. 1 UCLA (19-1, 1-0 MPSF). Stanford’s home loss to the Bruins was their first after an otherwise flawless start to the season.
Junior driver Ethan Parrish quickly made his team’s intentions known with the first goal of the game. But the Tigers got themselves onto the scoreboard with just over three minutes left in the first period, and the two teams traded points to find themselves locked at 2-2. Finally, Stanford converted on the powerplay to take a slight edge 3-2 following a penalty at the end of the first.
Next, it was redshirt freshman 2M Jack Martin who stepped up for the Cardinal, tallying a goal to stretch Stanford’s lead to 4-2. But Pacific refused to let the Cardinal increase their advantage. Pacific’s Reuel D’Souza made his second goal of the day, as Stanford finished the half leading 5-3.
Play only got tougher in the second half as the Tigers made a comeback to tie the score at 5-5 in the third. But redshirt freshman driver Grant Watson responded immediately to score and regain the lead for Stanford, albeit a slim one.
As the Cardinal sought to put some space between themselves and their opponents, junior driver Jackson Painter stepped up and fired for a score. His team held strong to close out the third period with a slightly more comfortable 9-6 lead.
The Tigers were not entirely finished, adding two goals to their tally in the fourth. But Stanford played up to its successful record and that of their new head coach, Brian Flacks. Another goal from Painter gave the Cardinal a near-game-ending advantage of four points, and the squad closed out the period and the afternoon shortly thereafter, 12-8.
Stanford showed its offensive depth, with seven players getting in on the scoring action. Painter led his team with four goals, while graduate driver Quinn Woodhead had two. Martin, Parrish, Watson, junior driver Riley Pittman and senior driver Larsen Weigle scored one goal apiece.
Stanford will continue its weekend on Sunday with a pair of neutral matchups against No. 9 Princeton (18-5, 5-0 CWPA) and Bucknell (11-10, 8-3 MAWPC) in Santa Clara, Calif. The games are scheduled for 9:20 a.m. and 2:40 p.m. PT, respectively.