No. 5 Stanford men’s water polo (12-3, 4-2 MPSF) had a brilliant performance as it beat No. 8 Pepperdine (10-8) with a final score of 9-5 on Sunday afternoon in Malibu, California.
Eight different players scored the Cardinal’s nine goals, demonstrating the capacity and extent of the team’s ability. Freshman Bennett Williams scored twice, and was named MPSF Newcomer of the Week for his efforts in this weekend’s matches.
Junior two-meter Harrison Enright was the first to score in the match, putting the ball into the net in the early minutes of play. Williams followed up closely thereafter with another goal, giving the Cardinal the early lead they were hoping for.
The Waves fired back, unwilling to let Stanford dominate the entire match without putting up a fight. Sophomore utility/attacker Marko Asic was able to put one past junior goalie Oliver Lewis with 3:39 showing on the clock.
Still going strong in the first period, Stanford responded to Pepperdine’s first goal by placing two more into the back of the net. Sophomore driver Nelson Perla-Ward notched the first of these goals before the six-minute mark, putting Stanford up 3-1.
After two more Cardinal goals, the momentum seemed fully in Stanford’s favor. However, Pepperdine’s Asic once again took control of the game and brought the Waves within one point by the end of the first quarter.
At the start of the second quarter, Pepperdine once again showed its strength, as junior attacker Kenneth Keller scored on a rebound off a teammate’s shot.
The match was then tied at three goals apiece.
The Cardinal did not want to end the first half in a stalemate after dominating play during the two periods, so they did what they do best: They upped the pressure and put two balls into the goal past junior goalie Zack Rhodes.
Rhodes, who has been a great asset to the Pepperdine team this season, only managed six saves against the offensively strong Cardinal.
Both teams came out hot as the third quarter began. Scoring came from both ends, as the Waves saw goals from senior center Cristian Bridley and a hat-trick goal from Asic. Asic’s goal came off of a five-meter penalty shot from a foul that had been drawn by Bridley.
After the third period ended with a 7-5 lead for the Cardinal, the squad seemed to take advantage of its lead and claim full possession of the game, leaving the Waves behind and scoring twice more.
Lewis played in goal, keeping up an impressive record by posting 12 saves and holding Pepperdine to a low score.
The Cardinal will have a hard week of training as they prepare to take on No. 1 UCLA on Saturday in Los Angeles.
Contact Laura Sussman at laura111 ‘at’ stanford.edu.