No. 2 Stanford women’s water polo (17-1, 4-0 MPSF) snapped No. 1 USC’s (25-1, 3-1) 52-game winning streak on the road on Saturday in a game that not once saw Stanford trailing. The Cardinal came away with a 12-8 victory thanks to scores from seven different players.
Stanford, who had already lost to the Women of Troy twice this season—once in exhibition and once at the Barbara Kalbus invitational on Feb. 26—entered the game on a five-game winning streak during which it had outscored its opponents by a cumulative 65 points. The Cardinal were looking to keep their momentum as they entered their last stretch of the regular season.
Olympian freshman Makenzie Fischer once again spurred the Cardinal offense as she notched her two goals in the first minutes of the contest. Her two scores complemented a goal by senior Jamie Neushul and helped the Cardinal earn a 3-1 lead after the opening period.
The second period was the most prolific for both teams, as each squad racked up four scores. Junior Jordan Raney got things started for the Cardinal as she scored from distance on the opening possession of the quarter. While USC fired back with one score, a pair of goals by junior Katie Dudley and sophomore Madison Berggren put the Cardinal up 6-2, their largest lead of the game.
USC’s Brigitta Games led a Trojan comeback as she helped her team score three unanswered goals as part of a 4-1 run to close the gap to one at 2:28 in the third.
Raney put an end to the Cardinal scoring drought with 2:01 left in the third as she doubled Stanford’s lead. Senior Maggie Steffens added one more for the Cardinal with 17 seconds left in the quarter as the Cardinal ended the third period with a 9-6 lead.
Senior Dani Jackovich started the fourth quarter with back-to-back goals, including her 100th career score. Dudley then sealed the game as she scored Stanford’s final goal with 4:09 left in the face-off to put the Cardinal up 12-6.
Stanford’s performance on both ends of the pool helped the Cardinal stay undefeated in conference play and gives the team plenty of confidence as it approaches the playoffs. During the game, five Cardinal players scored twice (Dudley, Fischer, Jackovich, Neushul and Raney), showing the Cardinal’s balanced offense. On the defensive end, senior Gabby Stone once again came up big for the Cardinal as she posted 11 saves on 21 attempted shots to help Stanford keep the Women of Troy three-for-nine on power plays.
USC hadn’t lost since May 9, 2015, when the Cardinal edged them 9-8 at Stanford. This game also marked USC’s first home loss since March 8, 2015, when Stanford beat the Women of Troy 12-9 in Los Angeles.
Stanford returns to action next weekend as they host another MPSF competitor, No. 3 UCLA, on April 15.
Contact Alexandre Bucquet at bucqueta ‘at’ stanford.edu.