By Jana Persky
The No. 2 Stanford women’s water polo capped off spring break with an undefeated trip to Hawaii. The Cardinal (22-1, 3-0 MPSF) defeated No. 15 UC-San Diego, No. 17 UC-Santa Barbara, No. 6 San Diego State and No. 8 Hawaii over two days in Honolulu.
No opponent came within eight goals of the Cardinal, who has won 10 consecutive games since losing to No. 1 USC on Feb. 24.
On Friday, Stanford defeated UC-San Diego 17-4 before jumping back into the pool to beat UC-Santa Barbara 12-3.
In the first game, Stanford took a 10-0 lead by holding the Tritons scoreless until midway through the third quarter. In the opening minute, junior Annika Dries and senior Melissa Seidemann put away goals. Both attackers would record hat tricks in the game.
Eleven different players scored for the Cardinal in the contest. Sophomore Ashley Grossman and junior Lexie Ross both scored twice while Catherine Carpenter, Jillian Garton, Kaitlyn Lo, Gurpreet Sohi, Maggie Steffens, Kelsey Suggs and Anna Yelizarova also chipped in one goal apiece.
Freshman Gabby Stone played the entire game in net, recording 10 saves to keep any hopes of a Triton comeback at bay.
Stanford would take another early lead later in the day against UC-Santa Barbara. Sophomore Kiley Neushul tallied four goals in the match, including three during the Cardinal’s 5-0 run to start the game.
The Gauchos scored their first goal 5:21 remaining before halftime, but Stanford responded with a goal from Steffens to take a 6-1 lead into the break.
At the start of the third quarter, Neushul, Lo and Grossman added goals to give Stanford a comfortable 9-1 lead. Senior Kate Baldoni (nine saves) and the Cardinal defense held the Gauchos to just two goals in the second half as Steffens finished her hat trick and Dries, Lee and Yelizarova also found the back of the net to reach the final 12-3 margin.
On Sunday, despite its opponents’ high rankings, Stanford still dominated both games.
Once again, Stone (10 saves) was virtually impenetrable as the freshman kept San Diego State off the scoreboard until the Aztecs finally scored with 5:28 remaining in the third quarter.
At the other end of the pool, Stanford pumped in the game’s first 14 goals en route to a 20-3 victory behind a game-high five tallies from Grossman. Neushul recorded her second hat trick of the weekend, and junior Kaley Dodson and Yelizarova each scored twice. Eight other players scored once for the Card.
Host Hawaii presented the final competition of the weekend in a game on Saturday evening. The Cardinal’s pace slowed down slightly, but Stanford still scored the first four goals of the game and carried a 9-3 lead into halftime.
Stanford then outscored the Rainbow Wahine 4-1 in each of the last two quarters to cruise to a 17-5 win. Baldoni recorded 14 saves in goal.
Steffens led the Cardinal with four goals, while Dries, Grossman and Yelizarova each scored twice. Grossman had 11 goals over the four games after entering the weekend with just four goals on the season.
Kiley Neushul added two goals while Cory Dodson and Lo also scored.
The Cardinal now comes home for the start of spring quarter to return to conference play. Stanford will next meet UCLA in an MPSF matchup on April 6 at the Avery Aquatic Center. On Feb. 3, the Cardinal defeated the Bruins 8-5 in Stanford’s closest victory of the season. The game is slated to begin at 1 p.m.
Contact Jana Persky at jpersky “at” stanford.edu.