Tweets by @StanfordSports

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.: 22 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.: 22 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.: 22 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.: 22 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Randle misses the long 3 on a clean look. Stanford will get the ball back with a chance.: 22 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Travel. Stanford down 2, gets the ball back and can kill the clock.: 22 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.: 22 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.: 22 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.: 22 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport

Water polo set for national title showdown against UCLA

There seem to be three certainties in life on the Farm: death, taxes and Stanford women’s water polo qualifying for the national title match.

While the above statement is certainly hyperbole, it’s become a reality over the last half-decade, as the Cardinal have played in four consecutive title matches and have won two of the last three national championships.

(SHIRLEY PEFLEY/stanfordphoto.com)

Junior Kiley Neushul (above) has been one of the anchors of a remarkably balanced Stanford offense that has put up goals in bunches all season. However, the Cardinal are again in for one of their toughest challenges of the season in a resilient, stingy UCLA defense. (SHIRLEY PEFLEY/stanfordphoto.com)

This afternoon, No. 1 Stanford (24-1) finds itself in a familiar position yet again, as it prepares to participate in a fifth straight title game and likely represents the best chance for Stanford’s athletic program to extend its national title streak to 38 years. After falling agonizingly short in a quadruple-overtime heartbreaker against USC last season, Stanford will have another go at it this afternoon, this time against No. 2 UCLA (27-4).

“We’ve had a ton of great players year in and year out, and the standard and expectations are always high,” said Stanford head coach John Tanner to GoStanford.com. “You get people who are really hungry and have great coaching coming up and want to be a part of Nerd Nation, and that’s what’s put us in five straight championship games.”

It’s been another relatively smooth ride to the title match for the Cardinal, which have cruised on the back of a balanced, deep offense, highlighted by a pair of 50-goal scorers in junior Kiley Neushul (50) and sophomore Maggie Steffens (50). Their supporting cast has also been one of the most consistent in the nation, with a pair of 40-goal scorers in senior Annika Dries (45) and junior Ashley Grossman (42) and a 30-goal scorer in sophomore Anna Yelizarova (37).

And even though the offense has been putting up goals in bunches, the defense has also been a critical factor in the team’s success down the stretch. The team entered the tournament averaging just 5.91 goals allowed per match, while sophomore goalie Gabby Stone owned a goals-against average of 5.99 that has since decreased after Stanford allowed just two goals to Indiana and eight to California in the first two rounds of the tournament.

The Cardinal qualified for the title match with their 39th consecutive win over Cal, a 12-8 semifinal victory in which Stanford used big offensive surges in the second and third periods to pull ahead for good. Meanwhile, UCLA used a tough, gritty 5-3 victory over the defending national champions in No. 3 USC to cap off a strong season and set up a rematch with Stanford.

Stanford and UCLA last met in the finals of the MPSF Tournament, a match that the Cardinal won 6-5 to claim their first conference title since 2006. Although Stanford has defeated UCLA three times this season, the Bruins are the only team to have beaten Stanford this season and have ridden a stingy defense to its No. 2 spot in the national rankings. Each of the last two meetings between the teams has been decided by a margin of one goal, and neither team has been able to reach double digits in scoring against the other all season.

What many expect will be a defensive battle for the national title in a rematch of the MPSF Championship will kick off at 5:30 p.m. at the Uytengsu Aquatic Center in Los Angeles.

Contact Do-Hyoung Park at dpark027 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Do-Hyoung Park

Do-Hyoung Park '16 is the head copy editor, a sports desk editor and a former Managing Editor of Sports at The Daily. He fills the "Crazy Old Uncle" role at The Daily, occasionally being allowed to throw up football stories and rant-y columns. Do-Hyoung is a junior from Saint Paul, Minnesota studying chemical engineering and computer science. To contact him, please email him at dpark027 'at' stanford.edu.