No. 1 Stanford women’s water polo (17-2, 4-1 MPSF) dropped its weekend contest against UCLA (19-1, 5-0) on Saturday as the third-ranked Bruins edged the Cardinal 10-9.
UCLA now stands alone atop the MPSF standings after it handed the Cardinal their second season loss, simultaneously ending Stanford’s six-game winning streak.
The Bruins jumped to an early 3-0 lead in the first that the Cardinal could not overcome. Although Stanford managed to tie the game four times, it never succeeded to take the lead. Senior driver Jamie Neushul was the first Cardinal to score, as she got her team on the board after a six-on-five opportunity with 4:36 left in the opening period.
Junior Shannon Cleary scored a minute afterwards to put the Cardinal within one, and Neushul added another goal to close the quarter after the Cardinal went down 4-2.
Freshman Makenzie Fischer tied things up at the start of the second quarter during which the two teams traded goals. UCLA regained the lead with 5:03 left, but Dani Jackovich quickly answered for Stanford as she scored 30 seconds later.
The Bruins again went ahead to close out the half, but the Cardinal answered with a goal from junior Jordan Raney early in the third. A solid play by UCLA put it ahead 7-6, but once again the Cardinal quickly fired back, as sophomore Kat Klass notched a score with 3:30 remaining in the third.
The Bruins, however, closed out the period strong as they racked up two goals with 1:15 and seven seconds left, respectively.
Fischer and Klass attempted to put the Cardinal back in it thanks to one extra goal apiece, but senior goalkeeper Gabby Stone’s eight saves were not enough as the Bruins perforated Stanford’s defense one last time to score their 10th goal of the game and blocked Klass’ attempt at a last-second shot.
The Cardinal will wrap up their regular season next weekend when they host No. 15 San Jose State (9-16, 0-4 MPSF) and hope for USC to overcome UCLA so that the Trojans, Bruins and Cardinal are tied for the MPSF title with only one loss each. Regardless of their ranking, the Cardinal will use their final game of the regular season to prepare for the MPSF Championships that will take place April 28-30.
Contact Alexandre Bucquet at bucqueta ‘at’ stanford.edu.