No. 4 Stanford men's water polo makes the first of two straight weekend trips to Southern California this Friday. This first trip will feature the Cardinal playing three games in three days starting with Friday night's meeting with No. 8 Irvine.
From there, the Cardinal (14-4, 3-1 MPSF) will visit Chapman Saturday at 2 p.m. before closing the weekend with a contest at MPSF foe and seventh-ranked Long Beach State Sunday at 12 p.m.
Stanford heads out of town with a modest four-game winning streak in tow, and as one of four MPSF teams with just one conference loss in the standings. The Cardinal got its most recent win last Sunday, downing No. 6 UC Santa Barbara, 11-8, to end a four-game homestand at Avery Aquatic Center.
Alex Bowen scored two goals in that win, increasing his 2013 total to 46, second-best on the team. Sophomore BJ Churnside and redshirt senior Forrest Watkins also scored twice apiece, with both players already being over the 20-goal mark for the year (26 for Churnside and 23 for Watkins).
Sophomore driver Bret Bonanni still leads the Cardinal with 63 goals and paces the MPSF with 3.50 goals per game. Bowen is eight with 2.56 goals per game.
On defense, freshman Drew Holland ranks third in the conference with a 6.86 goals-against average, and this past Sunday's win over the Gauchos made 11 saves.
This weekend's first opponent, UC Irvine, is 11-9 overall but still in search of its first MPSF win, currently at 0-4 in conference play. The Anteaters are led by the 61 goals from Mitch Wise while in the cage goalies Alex Kazmier and Michael Bailey each average just under 11 saves a game.
Sunday's MPSF opponent, Long Beach State, is 17-8 overall and 1-3 in conference play. Zacchary Kappos leads the 49ers with 41 goals this season, and goalie Pavo Ljepopio is fifth in the MPSF with a goals-against average of 7.74.
Chapman, Saturday's opponent, is 7-7 overall and a member of the SCIAC. The team is led by 28 goals from Brett Carter and the 70 saves of goalie Stephen Neil.