Five straight goals in a span of 2:22 bridging the first and second periods helped fourth-ranked Stanford men’s water polo pull away from No. 8 UC Irvine and roll to an 18-6 win Friday night in Orange County.
Sophomore Bret Bonanni scored two of his match-high four goals at the top of that run, while BJ Churnside, Jackson Kimbell and Conner Cleary added the rest. For the game Churnside scored thrice while Kimbell, along with Alex Bowen, Reid Chase and Charlie Wiser scored twice. Cleary, Adam Abdulhamid and Paul Rudolph each scored a goal as well.
Goalie Drew Holland made 10 saves as the Cardinal defense was stout once again, holding the Anteaters scoreless over the final 9:09.
The win improved the Cardinal to 15-4 overall and 4-1 in MPSF play, and was the team’s fifth straight win. The Anteaters remain winless in MPSF play at 0-5 while falling to 11-10 overall.
The Anteaters took their only lead of the game with 5:58 to play in the first period as Larson Pfeil converted a 6-on-5 opportunity to open the scoring. Stanford would answer with a man-up goal of its own from Kimbell at 3:49 followed by an even-strength effort from Wiser at 2:58.
Kyle Trush pulled UC Irvine even just over a minute later, but the Cardinal would swiftly take control of the contest with the game-changing 5-0 run. That stretch began with two 6-on-5 goals from Bonanni, the first coming at 1:24 and the second with 18 seconds to go in the period. A quick turnover would gift the Cardinal another chance at goal before the end of the frame, and Churnside would convert with seven seconds on the clock.
Kimbell and Cleary scored within the opening 58 seconds of the second period to leave the Anteaters shell-shocked and staring at a 7-2 deficit. Yet UCI continued to fight, scoring three of the next four goals to cut the Cardinal lead to 8-5 by halftime.
Stanford would go on a 7-0 run to open the second half to put the game away, however. Rudolph opened things with an even-strength goal just 19 seconds into the period, followed by goals from Bonanni and Bowen at 6:39 and 6:02, respectively, to make it 11-5. Holland and the defense continued to stifle the Anteaters while Churnside scored twice in 38 seconds followed by Chase netting two straight to balloon the lead to 10 at 15-5.
UC Irvine would score its only goal of the second half with a 6-on-5 score with 1:09 left in the third period. But Stanford would finish strong as Bonanni, Abdulhamid and Wiser scored the final three goals of the game.
Stanford – 5 3 7 3 = 18
UC Irvine – 2 3 1 0 = 6
Stanford Goal Scorers – Bonanni 4, Churnside 3, Bowen 2, Chase 2, Kimbell 2, Wiser 2, Abdulhamid, Cleary, Rudolph
UC Irvine Goal Scorers – Pfeil 2, Trush 2, Mourer, Wise
Goalie Saves – Holland 10 (S); Peterson 3, deLange 1 (UCI)