The No. 3 Stanford men’s water polo team saw its season come to an end when it fell to No. 2 UCLA 10-9 in sudden-death overtime of the MPSF Championship Third-Place Game on Friday.
Stanford faces No. 7 Pacific on Senior Day Friday night with a lot at stake. A victory would secure the fourth seed in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament, but a loss would open up the door for the Tigers to jump them in the standings, and an even worse draw for the Cardinal in the conference playoffs.
Stanford (8-3, 2-1 MPSF) makes a visit to Berkeley’s Spieker Aquatics Complex this Saturday for the Big Splash with a chance to drop the Golden Bears to 0-3 in conference play. With a win, the fifth-ranked Cardinal would also have its first three-game winning streak of the season.
Then, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, USC (15-0, 2-0 MPSF) ambushed the back of the Cardinal net and put the game out of reach with four third-quarter goals and a stalwart defensive display. The first of those goals came less than 30 seconds into the second half, and the Trojans followed it up with another before 60 seconds had ticked off the game clock.
This weekend will be a change of pace for the Stanford men’s water polo team, which is coming off its first loss of the conference season last weekend to UCLA and dropped out of the top spot in the national rankings to number three.
The Cardinal (4-2) was highly successful on Saturday, winning both of its matches over ranked oppositions to advance to the semifinals. However, the squad couldn’t keep its momentum through Sunday, falling in two consecutive matches.