Women’s water polo has its sights set on back-to-back titles. On Friday, Fresno State was simply in the way.
The No. 2 Cardinal (13-5, 8-4 MPSF) easily defeated the Bulldogs (13-6, 6-1 GCC) 16-9 in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament at Spieker Aquatics Center in Los Angeles. Stanford was in control the moment junior 2-meter defender Chloe Harbilas put Stanford on the board with six minutes remaining in the first quarter. Harbilas’s opening goal would be her only score on Friday afternoon, but the rest of the team carried the Cardinal through the contest.
Players from all four class years on head coach John Tanner’s squad got a piece of the action. Senior driver Sarah Klass and freshman driver Jewel Roemer each scored four goals while junior driver Lauren Indart and sophomore driver Katie Lyons each added two more.
In front of the net, redshirt senior goalkeeper Emalia Eichelberger ensured the Bulldogs felt her presence. She logged 13 saves and allowed five goals in the first three quarters of the match. At the start of the fourth quarter, Tanner replaced Eichelberger with Maya Avital. The freshman goalkeeper allowed four goals in her eight minutes in the pool, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the lead built by Stanford’s offense.
The Cardinal will face the No. 3 UCLA Bruins (13-4, 9-3 MPSF), who call Spieker Aquatics Center home, in the semifinals on Saturday.