The Stanford water polo programs continue to make waves even after the conclusions of their seasons. Junior Makenzie Fischer and redshirt sophomore Ben Hallock were each awarded the Peter J. Cutino Award. Considered the Heisman Trophy of the collegiate water polo world, the award is handed out to the best male player and best female player of each year.
This year, Cardinal water polo returned to the NCAA championship game for the first time in a decade but fell short of its ultimate goal of reclaiming the national title, losing to embittered rival USC in the NCAA final.
On Saturday afternoon, No. 1 Stanford men’s water polo (21-3, 2-1 MPSF) romped to a 16-7 destruction of No. 7 UC San Diego (20-6, 6-1 WWPA) in the NCAA semifinals to advance to the championship game. Yet the next day at Avery Aquatics Center, the Cardinal fell to No. 2 USC (30-3, 2-1 MPSF) 12-14, continuing a sixteen year championship drought for the Stanford program.
Tomorrow afternoon, men’s water polo returns to the NCAA tournament for their 32nd appearance and the first since 2014. The Cardinal (20-2, MPSF 2-1) enter the scene ranked as the best team in the nation after triumphing over No. 2 UCLA and No. 4 Cal in the MPSF end-of-season tournament two weeks ago. This championship has an extra layer of significance as Stanford will play host for the first time in five years.
On Saturday and Sunday, the Stanford men’s water polo team will fight in the end-of-season Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament at USC as the conference’s first seed.
On Saturday afternoon, No. 3 Stanford men’s water polo (18-2, 2-1 MPSF) sunk No. 4 California (16-5, 1-2 MPSF) 12-11 in double overtime in the Big Splash at Spieker Aquatics Complex. Neither team led by more than a goal throughout the entire match until Stanford pulled away 12-10 in overtime to a lead that the Bears were unable to equal.
After overcoming UCLA two weeks ago in the Mountain Pacific Invitational Meet, Stanford (17-1) got ready to once again face the UCLA Bruins (19-2) this past weekend. In their penultimate match of the season, the No. 2 Cardinal were struck down for only the second time this season by the No. 4 seeded Bruins. From the start of play the Bruins came out strong and Stanford was fighting an uphill battle.
This weekend, the No. 2 Stanford men’s water polo team (15-1) takes on No. 9 UC Davis (13-5) on Saturday at noon and No. 11 UC Irvine (7-10) on Sunday at 1pm in their final two home games of the regular season. The team will be led by sophomores Ben Hallock and Tyler Abramson on offense, each of whom have 42 goals on the season. On defense, the Cardinal will be led by senior goalkeeper Oliver Lewis, who has 174 saves on the season and is allowing an average of only 6.46 goals per game.