Stanford women’s water polo is gearing up to take on the MPSF championships, starting with No. 20 San Jose State on Friday at 11 a.m. The game is make-it-or-break-it for the Cardinal, as they dive directly into the elimination rounds.
The Cardinal squad currently stands second with an outstanding 16-2, 3-2 MPSF record that will gives it the confidence needed to take on this challenge. If the team manages to outdo San Jose State, it will face No. 3 Cal (18-4, 4-1 MPSF), who earned a first-round bye and is hosting the tournament. The USC Trojans (21-1, 5-0 MPSF) may also prove a worthy foe of the Cardinal, and they join Cal with their own first-round bye.
Competing in the MPSF Championship is nothing new to the Cardinal, who have played in 14 championship games, five of which were won. The last MPSF Title for the team from the Farm came in 2014, and last year it was beaten by UCLA 6-3 in the finals after being tied at halftime.
Several of the most important members of the team from last year’s almost-victory will be returning to the pool this season, including sophomore driver Makenzie Fischer and senior 2-meter defender Jordan Raney.
Fischer is currently leading the team with 47 goals and has had 14 games in which she has netted multiple points. The sophomore is leading the conference in goals per game (2.61) and has scored five times in four of the last six matchups.
Raney has also contributed 12 goals in 10 games. Fellow junior driver Madison Berggren has grossed 28 goals so far and is tied with newcomer Aria Fischer.
Junior 2-meter/driver Kat Klass has also gained herself thorough recognition as one of the team’s leaders, coming in second place with 29 goals. Last year, Klass was sixth on the team with 28 goals by the end of the season, and this year she has even further bettered her standing and will be heavily relied on this weekend. Klass and Makenzie Fischer have both surpassed the triple-digit career goals.
Last Sunday afternoon saw a Cardinal dominant 9-2 win against San Jose State, with the older Fischer sister putting in five and Aria Fischer adding an additional three. The momentum of finishing up their regular season like this should be a good motivator for the Stanford team to propel forward into tournament play.
The Cardinal are 46-0 against San Jose State all-time and have beaten them twice already this season (the first time on Jan 28, 15-4).
On the defensive end, goalkeeper Julia fifth-year senior Julia Hermann has made 117 saves and is nearing the top-five in Stanford history. Hermann is currently averaging 8.24 saves-per-game with a 4.58 goals-against-average that puts her second in the conference. In 2016, Hermann was voted as the NCAA tournament’s best goalkeeper.
Stanford’s odds for the tournament are looking good, but this won’t be enough to garner a win. The team will need to put their best foot forward as they take on San Jose State at 11 a.m. on Friday.
Contact Laura Sussman at laura111 ‘at’ stanford.edu