Stanford leads in Big Games across all sports

Nov. 16, 2023, 3:29 a.m.

As the biggest rivalry within Stanford athletics since 1892, the Big Game brings anticipation, school spirit and a flurry of longstanding traditions every fall. But although the annual football game typically draws the most attention and excitement, it is not the only showdown to watch between the Bears and the Cardinal.

The Big Game extends beyond football, with almost every sport having their own matchup. Each year, in events such as the Big Splash (men’s water polo), the Big Match (men’s and women’s golf) and the Big Spike (women’s volleyball), different athletics teams face Cal. Each match brings excitement and anticipation to beat the Bears and, most importantly, set a victorious precedent for the Big Game. 

Looking back at the different matchups between Berkeley and Stanford this past season, the Cardinal’s winning record forecasts an exciting football game this Saturday. 

Women’s soccer

Women’s soccer (16-0-4, 8-0-3 Pac-12) won an undeniable victory during their Big Game on Nov. 4. 

With sophomore Jasmine Aikey leading the way with a hat trick, the Cardinal defeated Cal 4-0. Not only was Aikey’s hat trick instrumental for a Big Game win, but it also commemorated a Senior Night to celebrate. Fifth-year Maya Doms was able to secure the fourth and final goal of both the game and her final regular season matchup. 

Women’s volleyball

Women’s volleyball (22-3, 15-1 Pac-12) continued the tradition of dominating the Bears with their sweep in September. 

In the last six meetings with Cal, the Cardinal have won each and every time. Senior Sami Francis led the Cardinal with nine kills to capture their sixth straight win. Sophomore standout Elia Rubin ended the game with a career high 19 digs, paving the way for an incredible match for the Cardinal. Once again, the Cardinal women defeat the Bears in impressive fashion.

Men’s soccer

Men’s soccer (9-3-5, 3-2-5 Pac-12) faced off against Berkeley last Saturday and headed home with a thrilling 2-1 victory. Starting off slow in the first half and accumulating a goal deficit, the Cardinal headed into the last 45 minutes of play with drive. Sophomore Dylan Hooper delivered when scoring a half field goal on just one touch. Not only did Hooper amaze the crowd, but redshirt senior midfielder Mark Fisher also continued the trend with a bicycle kick goal to secure the win. With two beautiful goals, Stanford men’s soccer pulled away to win the Big Match. 


Men’s and women’s golf join forces each fall for the Big Match against Berkeley’s respective men’s and women’s teams. 

After winning the 2022 Big Match Trophy, the Cardinal looked to repeat but fell just short, losing in a tight 3-4 match. Junior Caroline Sturdza and graduate student Barclay Brown led the way earlier, clinching the first point for the Cardinal. Sturdza had five birdies while Brown had seven.

Freshmen Paula Martin Sampedro and Kush Arora kept Stanford in the lead with a win in match two. After trailing the Bears for the first six holes, the duo came back in an impressive fashion, particularly with Martin Sampedro’s eagle on the 17th hole. The last winning pair of the day, senior Sadie Englemann and sophomore Sean-Karl Dobson, led the way throughout the entire sixth match. 

Men’s water polo

Men’s water polo (14-7, 2-4 MPSF) faced off against the Bears three different times this season, ending up with a close record of 2-1. 

First falling to the Bears at the MPSF Invitational in September, the Cardinal showed incredible tenacity, taking Cal into double overtime. 

After a hard fought loss, the Cardinal came back for their Oct. 14 matchup, where they led an offensive charge to win in regular time 9-8. Senior Jackson Painter scored an impressive four goals throughout the win, while senior standouts Ethan Parrish and Riley Pittman each had two. Stanford never trailed due to sophomore Griffen Price’s stint in goal, tallying 10 saves — including a breathtaking one-on-nobody save in the third. 

Finally, for the Big Splash trophy, the Card faced off against the Bears one last time, falling 8-12 due to a strong offensive presence by California. Fighting through a three-part series, the Cardinal showed tenacity through overtime losses, regular time wins and impressive showings by the senior class. 

Women’s field hockey

Women’s field hockey (4-11, 1-7 American East) played a pair of games Sept. 29 and Oct. 1 against the Bears. 

After falling to Cal Friday night (1-5), Stanford field hockey fought back to take a 4-3 win on Senior Day. Freshman Star Horlock scored her first multi-goal game of her career after falling behind 3-1 during the first half. Scoring two consecutive goals in the second half, Horlock brought the Cardinal back in sight of a win. One of only two graduating seniors, Haley Mossmer shined, scoring the game winner to bring home the Big Match win.

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