No. 6 Stanford men’s water polo (12-5, 4-4 MPSF) mounted an unsuccessful comeback attempt against No. 4 Pacific (16-6, 3-1) on Saturday, falling 11-10 to the Tigers on Stanford’s Senior Day.
This is the second game in a row in which Stanford has lost by just one goal. Exactly one week before the Pacific game, Stanford fell to No. 1 UCLA in a hard fought 7-6 game that was won by the Bruins at the last minute.
This week, as Pacific entered the Avery Aquatic Center, Stanford knew that it had to put up a fight as it took on yet another difficult foe. The last time they had played the Tigers, on Sept. 24, the Cardinal were defeated 9-8, and they were not looking to repeat the same close fate again.
Pacific started out strong, with its first goal coming 42 seconds into the match, scored by freshman attacker Engin Ege Colak.
Tiger senior attacker Ikko Saito doubled the Pacific lead, finding the net just six minutes later. Then, with five minutes remaining in the first period, a third Pacific goal came from freshman attacker Luis Araya.
After Araya’s goal, the Cardinal woke up offensively and began attacking with some fervor. Fifth-year senior two-meter Adam Warmoth scored the Cardinal’s first goal, cutting Pacific’s lead to two. Shortly thereafter, sophomore driver Blake Parrish scored with less than a minute-and-a-half left in the first quarter.
The second period began with Stanford trailing by a single goal to a strong-willed Pacific squad. The teams traded shots until Parrish finally put one in the net for Stanford with about seven minutes left in the half. The sophomore driver then finished his hat trick, putting the Cardinal up 4-3, their first lead of the game.
Fifth-year senior Aleksandar Petrovic scored for the Tigers to tie the score up, followed by a skip shot thrown in by junior attacker Devon Thumwood, putting the Tigers in the lead once again.
Riding off of the Pacific momentum, Araya and Saito both clinched their second goals of the game, giving the Tigers a 7-4 lead at halftime.
At the very beginning of the second half, Parrish netted his fourth goal of the game for the Cardinal, and junior driver Cody Smith followed up with another goal, bringing Stanford once again within a goal of the Tigers as the score read 7-6.
Pacific’s Petrovic and Thumwood also managed to score their second goals of the night, and once again the Tigers held a three-point lead at 9-6.
Senior attacker Derek Clappis scored another for the Tigers, who now held their greatest lead at 10-6 as the third period ended.
Sophomore two-meter Marco Stanchi came through for the Cardinal with a goal at the beginning of the final quarter. Sophomore driver Nelson Perla-Ward then made it a two-goal game with his first net of the match.
Pacific’s Colak scored another for his team, putting them up 11-8. Smith then countered, and the two teams found themselves at 11-9 with time running out.
Stanford freshman driver Bennett Williams managed a goal with just nine seconds left on the clock, making it a one-goal game at 11-10 with Pacific still up.
The last nine seconds were hard-fought, but the Cardinal were unable to score a final goal to tie the game, taking their second consecutive one-point loss.
Stanford will play its final game of the regular season against No. 3 California on Saturday. The match will be broadcast on Pac-12 Networks.
Contact Laura Sussman at laura111 ‘at’ stanford.edu.