The No. 3 Stanford men’s water polo team (14-4, 0-1 MPSF) headed to Los Angeles this weekend to participate in the Kap7 SoCal Invitational, finishing fourth after a disappointing pair of losses to USC and Cal.
The Cardinal began the weekend with a 25-7 victory over Concordia University, defeating them for the second time this season.
Senior Bret Bonanni continued his dominance as the team’s leading scorer, launching in 4 goals versus Concordia. Juniors Kyle Weikert, Justin Roberto and Sam Pfeil all recorded hat tricks, while senior Adam Abdulhamid, junior Connor Stapleton, and freshman Marco Stanchi each scored 2 goals against the Eagles. Sophomore goalkeeper Oliver Lewis played the entire game in the cage and notched 10 saves.
Though Concordia tallied the first goal of the game in less than two minutes, Stanford then dominated with nine unanswered goals on its way to a 10-2 lead at the end of the first quarter. Even though the Eagles allowed only 2 goals in the second quarter, they were no match for the Cardinal offense in the second half, as Stanford recorded 6 goals in the third quarter and 7 more in the fourth.
In the Saturday afternoon game against Long Beach State, the Cardinal recorded the first three goals of the game, from Bonanni, Stapleton, and junior Reid Chase. Goals from Stapleton and senior BJ Churnside in the final three minutes of the half gave the Cardinal a 7-4 lead at halftime.
Churnside scored again at the beginning of the second half, extending Stanford’s lead to four. The teams traded goals for the rest of the half, with sophomore Mitchell Mendoza, Chase, Bonanni, and sophomore Cody Smith contributing to the score sheet, ultimately leading to a 12-7 victory.
Senior goalkeeper Drew Holland played in the cage for this game, recording 6 saves.
The semifinals took place on Sunday at noon against Stanford’s archrival USC. Although the two teams had split matches in the past month, the Cardinal fell in their third meeting with the Trojans, 9-6.
USC came out strong, scoring 3 goals in the first quarter, compared to the Cardinal’s 1 from Bonanni, in large part due to Trojan goalie McQuin Baron’s 4 saves in the period.
The Trojan defense was dominant, shutting Stanford out in the second quarter to take a 5-1 lead into the half. A pair of goals from Chase and senior Griffin Bolan at the beginning of the third quarter brought the Cardinal within two, but the Trojans scored two of the next three goals to head into the final quarter leading 7-4.
The Cardinal could not overcome their deficit in the fourth quarter, as Trojan junior Blake Edwards matched the two Stanford goals from Bonanni and Chase, preserving the Trojan lead and ultimately leading to a 9-6 USC victory.
Following the loss, the Cardinal hoped to redeem themselves in the third-place game, but could not overpower Cal’s defense, losing 14-11.
The Bears took an early lead, scoring two goals in the first two minutes before Smith scored the Cardinal’s first goal, cutting the Cal lead to one. The first quarter ended with Stanford behind 3-5, despite a goal from senior Adam Warmoth and one from freshman Blake Parrish.
The teams traded blows back and forth in the second quarter, as the Cardinal were able to keep the score within one or two goals for the entire quarter. Reid Chase added 2 goals in the quarter and ended up being the leading scorer for the game, racking up 4 goals total.
The Bears pulled further ahead in the third quarter and had another early goal in the fourth, making the score 13-8. Goals from Chase, Bonanni, and Churnside in the fourth quarter made things interesting, but Stanford was unable to create enough offensive chances to ultimately defeat the Bears, losing with a final score of 11-14.
No. 1 UCLA and No. 2 USC played in the finals, with the Bruins winning 10-9 to win the tournament and maintain their undefeated record. The Cardinal will host the Bruins next Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at the Avery Aquatic Center.
Contact Selby Sturzenegger at selby ‘at’ stanford.edu.