No. 1 Stanford women’s water polo (6-0, 0-0 MPSF) dominated their opponents at the Stanford Invitational over the weekend, held at the Avery Aquatic Center. Storming through their trio of matches with a 3-0 overall record, the Cardinal beat out No. 10 Arizona State (5-3, 0-0 MPSF), No. 6 Michigan (6-5, 0-0 CWPA) and No 4. Cal (7-2, 0-0 MPSF) to take first in the tournament.
In their opening game – a high-stakes matchup against the Sun Devils – the Cardinal responded quickly to ASU’s strong start with a penalty shot conversion by freshman driver Jenna Flynn. Flynn continued to lead the team with a hat trick in the third quarter, helping Stanford score six consecutive goals. Junior driver Jewel Roemer helped as well, with two goals and impenetrable defense, while junior goalie Maya Atvial finished the game with 14 saves. Stanford, propelled by solid defense, ended on top 12-8.
That same day, the Cardinal faced the Michigan Wolverines, but sent them back to Ann Arbor, Mich. after a dominant victory. Junior driver Ryann Neuschul set the tone early with three goals in the first quarter alone, giving the Cardinal a 5-2 lead.
The second quarter featured impressive goals from senior 2MD Sophie Wallice, junior 2MD Skyler Jones, senior 2-Meter Aria Fischer and freshman 2-Meter Maggie Hawkins, further cementing Stanford’s lead. After some more back-and-forth play, the Cardinal ended the game in convincing fashion 14-4, thanks in part to Neuschul and senior driver Katie Lyons’ hat tricks. This win set up a final showdown against Berkeley.
The next day, the Cardinal defeated their Bay Area rival 14-8, further demonstrating why they are the defending national champions.
Flynn – in her sixth collegiate game so far – scored four goals, an impressive feat by any player, let alone a freshman. As the seconds ticked closer to the end of the half, Jones shot a beautiful goal to the top-right corner of the cage, securing the lead for the Cardinal.
In the second quarter, Atvial’s notable save against a penalty shot increased the pace of the game, benefiting Stanford. Atvial performed well throughout, blocking a total of 10 shots.
The team was unfazed by Berkeley timeouts and maintained the pace of the game to secure their 11th win in 12 matches against the Golden Bears since 2018.
The Cardinal will aim to continue their winning streak as they take part in the Aggies Invite in Davis, Calif. against UC Davis (3-5, 0-0 Big West) and the University of the Pacific (4-1, 0-0 GCC) on Feb. 12. Their first match is set to start at 11:50 a.m. PT.