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79-77 is your final from Provo after a furious comeback falls barely short at the end. Card get No. 9 Texas in Austin next. Tough draw.: 17 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Card looked sloppy and lost at times, but this team's resiliency is really something else. Just won't go away easily.: 17 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Stanford and Randle got the looks that they wanted at the end, and the shots just didn't fall. That happens, not much you can do about that.: 17 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Card get the ball back down 79-77 with 4.8 to go, and Randle misses the buzzer-beater. BYU wins by that final score.: 17 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Randle misses the long 3 on a clean look. Stanford will get the ball back with a chance.: 17 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Travel. Stanford down 2, gets the ball back and can kill the clock.: 17 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Randle with the clutch 3! We have a two-point game, 79-77 with just under a minute to go. ESPNU. Don't miss this ending.: 17 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Two forced turnovers later, it's back to a 77-72 game. Stanford doing whatever it can to stick around.: 17 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Stanford playing sloppy ball, BYU playing clean, foul-free ball on the other end. It's 72-59 Cougars, who have opened it up with 5 to play.: 17 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport

No. 2 Card opens season, begins quest for third title in four years

The No. 2 Stanford women’s water polo team will open up what it hopes will be a very successful campaign with the Stanford Invitational, which will bring together a star-studded field to the Avery Aquatic Center. The field consists of Stanford, No. 6 UC-Irvine, No. 7 Hawaii and No. 18 UC-Davis in Bracket A, while Bracket B is formed by No. 3 UCLA, No. 4 Cal, No. 12 San Jose State and No. 16 Michigan.

Senior Kaley Dodson (center) is one of several seniors who will look to reach a fourth straight NCAA title game. (Stanford Daily File Photo)

Senior Kaley Dodson (center) is one of several seniors who will look to reach a fourth straight NCAA title game. (Stanford Daily File Photo)

In the recent preseason MPSF poll, Stanford was ranked second by only a single point, with USC receiving four first-place votes to the Cardinal’s three. While USC beat the Card in last year’s NCAA tournament final in a quadruple-overtime thriller, Stanford returns many of its stronger members from last year’s team, including three Olympic gold medalists — sophomore driver Maggie Steffens, junior driver Kiley Neushul and senior two-meter Annika Dries. The Cardinal also welcomes a highly touted freshman class and will hope to return to the NCAA Women’s Water Polo Championship for a fifth straight year.

While the Cardinal will be favored to at least reach the final of this weekend’s invitational, none of the matches will be easy. Other U.S. National Team members present at the event include UCLA sophomores Rachel Fattal and Alys Williams, UCLA junior goalkeeper Sami Hill and UC Irvine junior defender Danielle Warde. Stanford’s opponents have put together strong team performances as well; UCLA and Hawaii finished third and fourth, respectively, in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.

Overall, the quality of the tournament should serve Stanford well going forward as it will act as an introduction to the high quality of play it will see in the MPSF. Although this weekend’s play will be an invitational, the Cardinal will look at it less as a tune-up and more as an early-season benchmark.

The Cardinal will hope to open the season in front of a large crowd at the Avery Aquatic Center and start the season the way it means to end it: with a win.

The Saturday session begins at 8:45 a.m., with Sunday’s matches starting at 8 a.m. The Cardinal is slated to face UC-Davis at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday, Hawaii at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and UC-Irvine at 8 a.m. on Sunday, with the finals and consolation matches being held on Sunday afternoon.

Contact Dylan Fugel at dfugel ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Dylan Fugel

Dylan Fugel '16 is a junior from Frankfurt, Germany by way of London, England, majoring in English. Things that he insists upon: that football refers to association football, that Iman Shumpert is the most underrated player in the NBA and that yes, he can do something with that English degree.