Top-ranked women’s water polo (17-1, 5-0 MPSF) clinched the top seed for the post-season MPSF tournament, defeating No. 5 Cal (13-6, 1-3 MPSF) in a tight 13-12 match on Saturday. Sophomore Aria Fischer’s career-high five goals helped to lift Stanford in its third straight victory against a top-five opponent.
The Cardinal made goal scoring a family affair, with 12 of the 13 goals coming from the arms of the Fischer sisters or the Klass sisters. This match marked Aria Fischer’s ninth multi-goal game on the season and her eighth hat trick this year.
Junior driver Makenzie Fischer poured in three goals to secure her 13th hat trick of the season. She also moves into sixth all-time on the school’s career goals list (189) and fifth all-time on the single-season goals list (68), besting her previous season’s total by one.
Both Klass sisters found the back of the net two times, marking the tenth multi-goal game for sophomore Sarah and the ninth for senior Kat. Sarah and Aria Fischer are tied for second most goals on the team this season with 35 each, and Kat sits in fourth with 28 tallied scores.
While the 12 goals scored by Cal are the most an opponent has dropped on Stanford this season, redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Emalia Eichelberger was a major reason the Golden Bears were unable to come away with the win. The Cardinal stopped 10 of Berkeley’s 13 power plays, and Eichelberger also posted a new career high in saves with 12.
Aria Fischer found first blood at the 6:43 mark, and a minute later, Kat Klass found her first score. Goals from Makenzie Fischer and freshman Ryann Neushul sandwiched the Golden Bear’s first score and closed the first quarter with a 4-1 Cardinal lead.
Stanford picked up their rate of fire in the second quarter, and Aria Fischer rattled the cage three more times in as many minutes. Kat Klass earned her second goal halfway through the quarter, and Sarah Klass tallied her first point with just under two minutes remaining.
Cal tried to keep pace, scoring three goals over the eight-minute quarter, but a late goal by Makenzie Fischer extended Stanford’s lead to six heading into the half.
Despite building a comfortable lead, the second half proved much more adverse for the Cardinal, who were outscored 8-3. They were unable to convert any offensive possessions into goals until the 3:42 mark in the third when Sarah Klass ended the drought. Makenzie Fischer provided the only other Stanford goal with just 17 seconds left in the frame to go up 12-7.
Cal responded at the start of the fourth quarter by winning the sprint and converting it to a quick goal. The Golden Bears then repeated the effort 90 seconds later to cut the lead to three. Aria Fischer recorded Stanford’s final goal with 3:05 remaining.
Berkeley’s two ensuing possessions proved fruitful and Stanford’s six goal halftime lead had evaporated to just two goals with a little over two minutes remaining. Cal was able to score during a 6-on-5 with 37 seconds left on the clock, but the defense held fast and Stanford emerged with its fourth straight win over the Golden Bears.
This was the second consecutive game that the Cardinal allowed its half-time lead to disappear. In the second half of this match and of the UCLA brawl, Stanford was outscored 14-7. The team will use their two remaining matches to tighten their performance before the MPSF tournament.
The Cardinal return to the Farm to end the regular season next week, hosting No. 9 UC Davis on Friday and No. 21 San Jose State on Saturday.
Contact James Hemker at jahemker ‘at’ stanford.edu.