The fourth-ranked Stanford men’s water polo team (10-4, 0-1 MPSF) opens Homecoming Weekend Saturday, Oct. 19 against No. 2 UCLA (18-1, 0-0 MPSF) at Avery Aquatic Center. The contest, set for a 10 a.m. start, will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks on tape-delayed basis Sunday, Oct. 20 at 9:30 a.m. with Jim Watson on play-by-play and Adam Krikorian on color commentary.
The Cardinal will conclude its weekend Sunday against No. 11 UC Davis at 12 p.m. at Avery Aquatic Center. It will be the third meeting between the Cardinal and Aggies this season.
About The Opposition
UCLA went on an 18-game winning streak to open 2013, capturing the NorCal Invitational title and the No. 1 ranking until this past Sunday when USC defeated the Bruins 12-11 in double overtime in the UCI Invitational final. The Bruins are led by the scoring of Lovre Milos, Paul Reynolds and Lucas Reynolds. In the cage Garrett Danner is the No. 1 for the Bruins.
UC Davis (7-8) will face Stanford for the third time this season. The Cardinal captured the first two meetings, defeating the Aggies 17-5 in the NorCal Invitational opener Sept. 21 then grabbing an 18-7 win in last Saturday’s UCI Invitational opener. The Aggies are led by the play of Chris Richardson (29 goals) and Bernie Rogers (25 goals) while the platoon of Philip Bates and Zach Tudhope handle duties in the cage.
Against The Bruins
Saturday’s nationally-televised contest will be the second meeting this season between Stanford and UCLA, and the second in seven days. Last Sunday at the UCI Invitational the Bruins jumped out to a 6-1 lead on the Cardinal and went on to a 10-5 victory in the tournament semifinals. Forrest Watkins led the Cardinal with a pair of goals in the contest but UCLA got two goals apiece from Gordon Marshall, Danny McClintick and Chris Wendt.
Last Time Out
Stanford finished fourth at the UCI Invitational last weekend in Irvine, defeating UC Davis and California on Saturday then falling to No. 1 UCLA and No. 3 Pacific in Sunday’s championship bracket. The Cardinal rolled to a 14-8 win over No. 5 California in Saturday’s second round but fell 10-5 to No. 1 UCLA in the semifinals, and dropped an 11-10 decision to No. 3 Pacific in the third-place game.
Bret Bonanni led the Cardinal with 10 goals over the four games while Alex Bowen scored six times. In the cage, Drew Holland played 13 of 16 periods, making 23 saves.
In The National Rankings
Stanford remained at No. 4 in this week’s CWPA Varsity Top 20 Poll after last weekend’s fourth-place finish at the UCI Invitational.
USA Junior National Team Connection
Saturday’s contest against UCLA features a combined 11 players between Stanford and UCLA who were part of the USA Junior National Team that took fifth place at the FINA Junior World Championship this past August in Hungary. From Stanford the team featured Adam Abdulhamid, Bret Bonanni, Alex Bowen and Jackson Kimbell, while representing UCLA were Garrett Danner, Matt Farmer, Jack Fellner, Danny McClintick, Chancellor Ramirez, Ryder Roberts and Alec Zwaneveld.
Bonanni led the USA with 19 goals over its 5-2 run while Bowen scored 16 times. Each Cardinal player scored twice in the 9-7 win over Spain in the fifth-place game. Abdulhamid scored four goals during the tournament and Kimbell added three. In all, Stanford’s quartet accounted for over half of the USA’s scoring in Hungary, netting 42 of the team’s 76 goals over the seven games.
The Killer B’s
As in Bonanni and Bowen. Stanford’s Bret Bonanni and Alex Bowen established themselves as the Cardinal’s offensive 1-2 punch last year, scoring 73 and 64 goals, respectively. This season has been no different, as the duo has combined to score 88 goals through 14 games, 53 coming from Bonanni and 35 from Bowen. Bonanni’s total of 73 last season was the highest by a Stanford player since Tony Azevedo scored 80 in 2004. Both players have been named MPSF Newcomer of the Year (Bowen in 2011, Bonanni in 2012) and last year Bowen was named to the ACWPC All-America First Team while Bonanni earned a spot on the Second Team.
Watkins Provides The Senior Leadership
Fifth-year senior Forrest Watkins continues to be one of the Cardinal’s key “glue” players in the pool, providing strong play on both ends of the pool. On offense Watkins, a two-meter player, has scored 17 goals while on the other end of the pool he has contributed to a defense which ranks fourth in the MPSF with just 7.14 goals allowed per game.
Holland In The Cage
Freshman Drew Holland came out of Stanford’s preseason camp as the new No. 1 goalie and so far this season has held his own against some of the nation’s top teams. Holland’s 7.18 goals-against average ranks fourth in the MPSF and he has already grabbed wins over Pacific and California during this young season. A product of Miramonte High School in Orinda, Holland helped the Matadors to the NCS title last year and was named the Bay Area News Group’s East Bay Boys’ Water Polo Player of the Year.
Among The MPSF Leaders
Through Oct. 13 Bret Bonanni leads the MPSF with a 3.79 goals-per-game average while Alex Bowen is ninth with a 2.50 figure.
In goal Drew Holland ranks fourth with a 7.18 goals-against average.