On Saturday, No. 2 women’s water polo will compete in the season-opening Loustrong Memorial tournament in San Jose, CA. The team is scheduled to take on No. 18 San Jose State, followed by a quick turnaround with Sonoma State.
As reigning national champions, Stanford has a lot of pressure coming into this season. Without four of their five leading scorers from last season, the Cardinal will have to rely on their depth if they plan to repeat as champs. Kat Klass ’19 graduated last season, while senior Mackenzie Fischer, junior Aria Fischer and sophomore Ryann Neushul are all taking the year off. The latter three will be training for the national team in hopes of making the Olympics.
With 11 freshmen and sophomores, the team is young and will need guidance from the two returning All-Americans and the three-member senior class. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Emalia Eichelberger, a second-team All-American, anchors the defense, and junior driver Sarah Klass, who garnered an honorable mention, is the top returning scorer.
Stanford has a talented freshman class coming into the program; this tournament will be their debut into college water polo. The class includes multiple Youth National Team members and All-Americans, among many other accomplishments.
The Cardinal will enter the tournament with confidence, having never lost to either San Jose State or Sonoma State. This weekend should be a good warmup to get momentum rolling into the rest of the winter preseason.
Stanford has tournaments for the next three weekends; the team is participating in the Cal Cup the weekend of Jan. 25 and is hosting the Stanford Invitational the following weekend. The Cardinal will build to big matchups in the Stanford Invitational against No. 7 Michigan and No. 4 California.
Keep an eye out for Klass and sophomore driver Madison Stamen to have a big impact in this weekend’s tournament. The two were on fire last season, as Klass tallied an outstanding 42 goals, and Stamen followed with 31, an especially impressive feat as a freshman.
First sprint against San Jose State is set for 11:30 a.m. PT, and the Sonoma State matchup will follow at 1 p.m. PT.
Contact Natalie Hilderbrand at nhild ‘at’ stanford.edu.