The Stanford men’s water polo team dominated in the pool once again on Sunday, cruising to an 11-3 victory against No. 9 Pepperdine. Riding on the momentum of last weekend’s huge sweep of UCLA and UC-Davis, the No. 4 Cardinal (13-4, 2-1 MPSF) continued its trend of stellar defense in its resounding defeat of the Waves (8-9, 0-3).
After being recognized as MPSF/KAP 7 Player of the Week for his tremendous 11-save performance in Stanford’s defeat of the No. 2 Bruins last Saturday, standout freshman goalie Drew Holland was at it again on Sunday, notching eight saves against Pepperdine. For the second consecutive game, the Card defense shut out its opposition for the entire first half.
Junior Alex Bowen opened the scoring midway through the first period on a Stanford six-on-five, drilling a shot past Pepperdine goalie Bence Valics. The Cardinal extended the lead minutes later when freshman Jackson Kimbell sprinted past a defender on a counter and received the ball with no one left to stop him.
The Cardinal continued to dominate in the second period, with Bowen scoring his second goal in the very first minute. Stanford added two more thanks to senior 2-meter Conner Cleary, who opened up opportunities for the offense by drawing three ejections in the period.
Sophomore Bret Bonanni cashed in on the first power play, firing the ball in from the wing, and Kimbell scored on another to make the score 5-0 by halftime.
The Waves fought back in the third period, mustering their only offense of the game. Pepperdine’s Danny White scored twice in the first two minutes to cut Stanford’s lead to three. However, the Cardinal offense responded in turn with goals senior Paul Rudolph and sophomore B.J. Churnside. Pepperdine’s Luke Hewko got the Waves their final goal with 56 seconds left in the period.
The lights-out Cardinal defense returned in the fourth period to shut down the Waves for good. Stanford lit up the scoreboard with goals from Churnside, Bonanni, Rudolph and Bowen to put the game well out of reach for Pepperdine.
With a hat trick during Sunday’s game, Bowen raised his goal total on the season to 44. Bonanni, who led the conference entering the game with 3.75 goals per game, increased his total to 62 on the season.
Stanford will face off against No. 6 UC-Santa Barbara next Sunday at Avery Aquatic Center in the final game of the homestand. The Cardinal will look to continue shutting down the opposition with its tight defense as it prepares for road trips to Southern California the following two weekends.
Contact Luke Asperger at lukea17 ‘at’ stanford.edu.