After a weeklong hiatus from league play, with the annual alumni game in between, the Stanford men’s water polo team surged back into action Sunday, trouncing Pepperdine, 15-6.
The No. 4 Cardinal (9-5, 3-1 MPSF) dominated all facets of the game against the No. 10 Waves (8-11, 0-4). The contest was decided early on, as the Cardinal built a large 7-0 lead by the time the second quarter hit its midway point.
Strong starts like Sunday’s had been uncharacteristic for the Stanford team as of late, resulting in several close games for the squad. Sunday’s match marked a full month since such a one-sided game for the Card—Stanford handily defeated San Diego, 22-12, on Oct. 2.
Stanford showed strong offensive play as its two key drivers—junior Jacob Smith and senior captain Sage Wright—led the way with hat tricks. Sophomore Paul Rudolph and redshirt freshman Forrest Watkins also contributed significantly to the Cardinal offense, scoring two goals apiece. Sophomores Ryan Brown, Travis Noll and Tim Norton, junior Peter Sefton AND senior Alex Pulido each netted single scores.
Backing up its prolific first quarter, the Cardinal scored four more times in the second frame to take a 9-3 lead into the locker room. The third quarter progressed much like the previous two, with Stanford dominating against Pepperdine in all facets of the game. The match was decisively out of reach for the Waves, to the tune of 13-4, by the time the final period rolled around.
Goalie Brian Pingree, a redshirt junior, continued his impressive streak, tallying eight saves and allowing only six goals to the Waves, despite Pepperdine frantically trying to claw its way back into the match for much of the game’s duration. Pingree was particularly strong in the first half, during which Stanford scored seven consecutive goals to start the game.
For the Waves, freshman goalkeeper Bence Valics had a big day with a personal record of 15 saves tallied. On offense for the Waves, freshman Jake Schrimpf and junior transfer Brandon Picone scored twice each with Mike Tragitt and Rex Learmouth accounting for Pepperdine’s remaining two goals.
The first decisive win in several weeks, Sunday’s match should build momentum for the Cardinal as Stanford heads into its final handful of league games before the season-ending MPSF tournament.
Stanford continues its season Friday night at Santa Clara, meeting the Broncos for the first time this season.