No. 4 Stanford women’s water polo (9-1) might have been riding a rare early-season loss going into this past weekend’s Davis Shootout, but it didn’t take the team long to get back in the win column, as it handily beat No. 5 UC Davis (10-5) and Brown (1-10), with respective scores of 14-5 and 17-0.
After struggling in their final game of the Stanford Invitational a few weeks ago — when they scored only two goals against Cal — the Cardinal didn’t skip a beat offensively at the Davis tournament and saw 11 different players score a combined 31 goals from the weekend.
“We really had good rhythm on offense and scored the ball in all different ways,” head coach John Tanner said. “In set offense, transition, 6-on-5, really inside and outside.”
Junior Jamie Neushul led the way in the weekend with 6 total goals, four of which came in Stanford’s game against Davis. Two of her second-quarter goals paved the way for a 4-0 Stanford advantage that period that put the Cardinal up 7-1 at half. Though UC Davis had success in limiting top-ranked opponents’ offenses to minimal goal-scoring in prior matchups, Stanford was able to keep rolling in the second half. The team netted another 7 goals to earn its second win against the Aggies and its first top-five win of the season.
“We had a better understanding of where people were going to be and how they would want the ball, so that part has definitely improved,” Tanner said of his team’s progress so far.
The team’s success on offense continued later that day, as it poured in 17 goals while holding Brown to none for Stanford’s first shutout of the season.
Three players — Dani Jackovich, Sophia Monaghan and Gurpreet Sohi — secured hat tricks, with Sohi’s coming in the first quarter alone and contributing to a 7-0 advantage at the end of the period.
It would be an all-Stanford show from there on out, as the team put in another 10 goals. It ended the weekend with a 56.4 percent clip.
Junior Julia Hermann, who has taken over as the starting goalie this season, accumulated 21 saves over the weekend, including 13 against Brown, the second-highest total of her career. Despite not having a ton of experience playing in her first two years on The Farm, she boasts a 5.83 goals-against average.
“She’s proven what she thought she was capable of when we recruited her,” Tanner said about Hermann. “She has benefited a lot from the experience, she’s also someone who really diligent about what she does everyday. She doesn’t let chances to improve slip by.”
Stanford will be back in the pool this weekend, when it travels to UC Irvine for a tournament. The Cardinal will first face Loyola Marymount but may also be matched up against UC Davis for a third time this season, depending on how the first games shake out. The tournament will host the nation’s top water polo teams — not only Stanford, but Cal, UCLA, USC, Michigan, UC Davis and Hawaii.
“This is a big early-season showdown; evaluation for a lot of teams,” Tanner said. “No easy games; all of them could come down to the wire, so we’ll find out a lot more about yourself and we’ll find out how other teams can handle these kinds of situations. We’re eager to get down there and get after it.”
Contact Alexa Philippou at aphil723 ‘at’ stanford.edu.