Tonight, the No. 1 ranked Stanford men’s water polo (9-0) will host No. 9 Long Beach State (6-5), trying to keep their nine-game winning streak going. This match comes after the Cardinal managed to overcome the former first seed, USC, 13-11 in a home game, matching the team’s best season start since 2009.
The stats for the beginning of this season are already extraordinary; Stanford has succeeded thus far in scoring more than eight goals in all of its matches, scoring less than 13 only once, against UC Santa Barbara (score of 9-7).
The Stanford offense has been extremely successful during this first part of the season, already totaling 150 goals scored by 13 different players. This includes sophomore driver Tyler Abramson who has already surpassed his personal scoring record of 14 goals as a freshman, and now leads the entire team’s individual scoring standings with 26 goals. He sits just above junior driver Bennet Williams, who is nearing his last season record of 28 goals with a total of 25 thus far. Williams managed to score a total of six goals against just Pepperdine two weeks ago. Third in scoring is redshirt sophomore 2-meter Ben Hallock, one of the leaders of the team, who has already scored 22 goals.
Looking from a more general perspective, the Cardinal have been very effective and consistent in all four of the quarters of each and every game, but the 42 goals of this season scored just in the first quarter (almost one-third of the total) really stand out, signaling how Stanford has always been able to control the game and impose its direction from the start.
But the Stanford defensive performance has been at least as great as their offense. This is especially true for the Cardinal starting goalkeeper, redshirt senior Oliver Lewis who has already totaled 107 saves in 8.5 games (34 quarters played), with a Goals Against Average (GAA) of 5.41.
Wednesday’s opponent will certainly not be an easy one- despite being in a four-game losing streak, Long Beach State has had to face very solid teams such as the already cited UC Santa Barbara (who managed to win just by one goal, 11-10 after a great Long Beach comeback in the fourth quarter of the game), Berkeley, UC San Diego and especially UCLA.
However, it must be said that Long Beach State’s season stats cannot really stand against Stanford’s stellar statistics, with a total of just 128 goals scored in 11 games and a GAA of 8.64.
The men’s water polo game will take place tonight at 6 p.m. at the Stanford Avery Aquatic Center.
Contact Didier Natalizi Baldi at didiernb ‘at’ stanford.edu