Top-seeded Stanford women’s water polo will play for its first MPSF Championship title since 2006 Sunday after rolling past No. 4 California, 13-6, in Los Angeles Saturday.
The Cardinal (21-1) captured its 38th straight win over the Golden Bears (18-8) as well, continuing a streak that dates back to 2000. Stanford will face No. 2 seed UCLA at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the MPSF Championship Game.
Stanford got four goals apiece from Kiley Neushul and Maggie Steffens in the win. The pair combined for all five of Stanford’s first-period goals as the Cardinal ended the opening frame with a 5-0 lead and went on to score the game’s first six goals.
Neushul wasted little time getting the Cardinal on the board, striking with just 31 seconds elapsed in the contest. Steffens added a 6-on-5 goal just 49 seconds later and at the 5:30 mark Neushul again found the back of the cage, giving the Cardinal a three-goal lead after just 2½ minutes.
Steffens would score the next two goals, the second coming after Stanford drew a penalty on California 41 seconds before the period’s expiration.
Anna Yelizarova netted Stanford’s second extra-attacker goal as the second period got underway before California got goals from Dora Antal and Roser Tarrago to cut things to 6-2. Kaley Dodson and Annika Dries, however, would help the Cardinal get those goals back with 6-on-5 goals.
Leading 8-3 as the second half got underway, the Cardinal stayed right on the Golden Bears, as Neushul scored twice within the opening 3:29 and Dries followed with her second to make it 11-3 Stanford. After a third California goal, Ashley Grossman and Steffens would provide the final two Cardinal goals of the day.
Goalie Gabby Stone made five saves over the first three periods while Emily Dorst came on for the final period and stopped a shot.
California – 0 3 1 2 = 6
Stanford – 5 3 3 2 = 13
Stanford Goal Scorers: K. Neushul 4, Steffens 4, Dries 2, K. Dodson, Grossman, Yelizarova
California Goal Scorers: Antal, Caron, Illes, Loughlin, Schroeder, Tarrago
Goalie Saves: Stone 5, Dorst 1 (S); Trabucco 3, Roland 2 (C)