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Women’s water polo begins season ranked No. 1 for third straight year

Senior driver Maggie Steffens winds up to take a shot. Steffens played in the Rio Olympics, and will be one of the main contributors to the team again this year. (KAREN AMBROSE HICKEY/ isiphotos.com)

Top-ranked Stanford women’s water polo starts its 2017 season this Saturday at the LouStrong Memorial hosted by San Jose State.

During this two-day tournament played at West Valley College, Stanford will compete against a few conference rivals to start off its competitive yet promising season. With a double-header on Saturday, the Cardinal take on the Spartans at 8:30 a.m. and UC Davis at 2 p.m. After a quick turnaround, Stanford gets back into the pool on Sunday for an exhibition matchup with UCLA at 8:30 a.m.

For the third consecutive year and the seventh time in eight years, Stanford begins its season ranked No. 1 in the 2017 MPSF Women’s Water Polo Coaches’ Poll. This recognition is not only a nod to the Cardinal’s most recent 2016 season, but also to the program’s record. With 12 national championship appearances and, more notably, five national championships titles under its belt, the Stanford team is undoubtedly the most consistent top competitor in the nation.

Although last season Stanford ended with a loss in the NCAA title game against USC, a team against whom it has matched up four times in this setting, the team’s overall record of 23-6 marked its 12th consecutive campaign of 20 or more wins.

This season, Stanford returns seven of its nine 20-goal scorers from last season, five of whom are All-Americans. The Cardinal also welcome back two-time All-American goalkeeper Gabby Stone, who missed last season to train with the United States Women’s Senior National Team.

As if the roster couldn’t get anymore dominant, added to this group are 2016 Rio Olympics gold medalists Maggie Steffens and Makenzie Fischer. In Rio, Steffens captained her United States team to its (and her) second consecutive Olympic gold and was honored MVP. By Steffens’ side was Fischer who put up an impressive seven goals for the US.

With a long but promising road ahead of them, the Stanford women look to bring back the national title come May. The Cardinal will host six games, two of which are invitational tournaments, so fans will have multiple opportunities to support the Cardinal right at home.

 

Contact Sydney Shaw at sshaw17 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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