By Dylan Fugel
No. 2 Stanford women’s water polo (7-0) continued its winning streak at a serene and untroubled pace, as the Cardinal extended its perfect start to the season with two comfortable road victories over the No. 14 UC-Davis Aggies (8-7) and the Pacific Tigers (4-7). The now-humming Stanford machine has started to look more and more dangerous as it gears up for the meat of its conference schedule, again sending a message to the rest of the MPSF that this year’s team is not one to be trifled with.
The weekend’s play got off to a successful start as Stanford cruised to a 15-4 victory over Pacific in a display that was impressive for the clinical way in which it was carried out. The Cardinal scored 13 unanswered goals before the Tigers could even get on the score sheet before easing off of the gas and allowing a late flurry of Pacific goals.
The Cardinal was led by freshman defender Dani Jackovich, who scored four goals, and senior two-meter Annika Dries, who netted her second hat trick in as many games. Junior driver Kiley Neushul, although unable to continue the torrid pace that she had at the start of the season, also chipped in with two goals.
The weekend doubleheader then continued with the Cardinal traveling to UC-Davis, which the Cardinal previously defeated 16-3 in the group stage of the Stanford Invitational on Feb. 1. Sunday’s performance was equally as comprehensive.
The Cardinal got out to a 9-0 lead in the first two periods, giving it a stranglehold on the game that it did not relinquish. That lead was created by the goal-scoring prowess of Stanford’s two-meter players: Dries and junior Ashley Grossman.
Both Grossman and Dries scored two goals in the first period, with Grossman completing her hat trick midway through the second period. Freshman defender Sophia Monaghan and freshman driver Jamie Neushul also got on the score sheet in this period, with both contributing to what became an unassailable lead.
UC-Davis fought back in the latter two periods through a brace from senior two-meter Alex Rawlinson and junior center Elsie Fullerton, but was not able to make serious inroads against a defensively sound Stanford team that currently ranks second in the MPSF with just 5.17 goals allowed per game.
The 17-5 margin was well deserved with the Cardinal being paced by Dries, who netted 6 goals for the game in what was her highest-scoring performance of the season. She currently leads the team with 19 goals. The whole team got in on the act over the course of the day, however, with 10 separate Cardinal players scoring goals.
Dries was announced as the second Stanford player this year to become the MPSF/KAP7 Player of the Week after her team-high 12 goals over the three games against UC-Santa Clara, UC-Davis and Pacific. Her 2.71 goals per game currently place her at fifth in the MPSF.
Stanford’s next set of matches is set for this coming weekend, as it travels to UC-Irvine for the Irvine Invitational, another popular preseason tournament. The Cardinal will play Pacific again, and three other matches are yet to be confirmed. Stanford will head into the 16-team tourney confident and ready to add more positives to a season that already appears to be rapidly heading in the right direction.
Contact Dylan Fugel at dfugel ‘at’ stanford.edu.