No. 5 Stanford men’s water polo (20-3, 0-2 MPSF) faced another defeat this past Sunday, losing to No. 3 USC (15-5, 1-1 MPSF) 19-14, the widest losing margin for the Cardinal thus far this season.
Stanford started strong with the first goal scored by junior driver Jackson Painter, converting a penalty committed by USC. The Trojans quickly recovered two minutes after with their own goal, tying the score 1-1. Staying strong, the Cardinal ended the first period with a one-goal lead, 4-3.
Extending the lead, redshirt freshman driver Grant Watson and Painter scored one goal each, bringing the score to 6-3. But a penalty committed by graduate student Quinn Woodhead swung the momentum in favor of the Trojans, resulting in a 6-6 tie. The tie continued into halftime — as both teams scored two more goals — bringing the game to 8-8.
Stanford once again started the quarter off strong with a goal from Watson, only to be followed by a goal by the Trojans a couple seconds after. As the quarter progressed, the Trojans maintained momentum and steadily increased the score. A 4-0 run from USC was the start of the end for Stanford, which headed into the last quarter down 13-10.
Redshirt freshman Jack Martin began the quarter with a goal, giving his team hope in closing the gap. The Cardinal made progress throughout the quarter, scoring three more goals. However, this scoring output did not match that of the Trojans, who scored six more goals in the fourth quarter. A final goal made by the Trojans wrapped up the game with a final score of 19-14.
Painter and Watson led the team in goals, each converting a hat trick. Painter’s three-goal performance propelled him past the 50-goal mark this season.
Next up, Stanford plays its last game of the season at Avery Aquatic Center against Bay Area rival No. 2 Cal (17-1, 2-0 MPSF) — for the second time this season — before the three-day MPSF Championship tournament in Los Angeles. The senior day game is scheduled to start at 12 p.m. PT.