By Jeremy Rubin
The newly minted No. 1 men’s water polo team (11-1, 0-0 MPSF) will look to retain their rank atop the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) against Santa Clara (8-4, 0-0 MPSF) on Wednesday. The Cardinal are a perfect 4-0 on the road and are winners of their last six straight matches.
These recent victories came against many quality opponents, including No. 2 UCLA and twice against No. 3 Pacific. Junior driver Tyler Abramson and sophomore two-meter defender AJ Rossman each scored three goals in the most recent victory, which was a hard-fought, come-from-behind 11-8 win against Pacific. After falling behind early in the game, the Cardinal stormed back, buoyed by five goals in the second quarter. Five other players each scored one goal apiece.
Against Santa Clara, the team has a perfect 19-0 record dating back to 2004. Throughout this stretch of dominance, Stanford has scored an average of 17.74 points per match. Last season’s 19-6 victory was led by now-senior driver Bennett Williams’ five goals and Abramson’s four. Both players remain on Stanford’s roster and continue to play key roles for the Cardinal offense.
As a team this year, Stanford’s potent offense has racked up 203 goals in 12 games, good for an average of just under 17 goals per game.
The stifling Cardinal defense has also been in peak form all season, allowing 7.25 goals per game. Senior goalkeeper Andrew Chun has averaged 9.5 saves per game over the six-game winning streak.
After losing to No. 4 UC Santa Barbara on Sept. 20, the Cardinal have been on a roll. After dropping from the No. 1 position earlier in the season, this week Stanford regained its place atop the rankings in the most recent CWPA poll.
Santa Clara has won each of its last four matches and in the most recent two, scored 17 and 18 goals, respectively. Senior utility player Ryan Werner dominated in both contests, scoring a combined eight goals by himself. However, he, and the rest of the Broncos offense, will have their hands full against Stanford’s defense.
The Bay area clash begins at 4 p.m. on Wednesday at Santa Clara.
Contact Jeremy Rubin at jjmrubin ‘at’ stanford.edu.