UCI Invitational Tournament Central
IRVINE, Calif. - Sunday at the UCI Invitational started off on a rough note for the top-ranked Stanford men's water polo team, but it ended on a high note as the Cardinal, despite suffering its first loss of the 2009 campaign at the hands of No. 4 California, rebounded to post a 5-4 victory over No. 2 UCLA to capture third place at the UCI Invitational.
Stanford (12-1, 1-0 MPSF) saw its season-opening 11-game winning streak snapped in the morning semifinal in a 10-8 loss to the Golden Bears, but still managed to close tournament action out on a winning note.
The Cardinal returns to Avery Aquatic Center next weekend for a pair of contests, first hosting the Santa Clara Broncos Saturday, Oct. 17 at 12 p.m. The weekend will be concluded with a 12 p.m. MPSF contest against Pepperdine on Sunday, Oct. 18.
Jacob Smith scored a team-high four goals Sunday, including a hat trick against California in the semifinal. Travis Noll scored twice in the third-place game while Paul Rudolph and Janson Wigo added a goal in each contest.
Goalie Jimmie Sandman made a combined 24 saves on the day, including 15 in the semifinal against California.
In that contest, California got out to a 4-2 advantage by halftime, but Stanford fought back and racked up three goals in the third period then added the first goal of the final frame to close to within 7-6.
But the Golden Bears would get a pair of goals from Zach White and Mike Sample near the midway point of the period to go up 9-6, and from there the Cardinal was unable to cut the lead to less than two and took its first loss of the season.
In the third-place game, Stanford regrouped and prepared to face the No. 2 UCLA Bruins for the third time this season. The Cardinal managed to keep its 2009 record intact against the Bruins with the 5-4 victory, as Noll scored twice to lead Stanford and Sandman made nine saves in a fine defensive effort.
After a scoreless first period, Stanford broke the deadlock with a pair of goals in the second frame, then added two more to start the third and take a 4-0 lead. UCLA, though, would answer with three straight goals, cutting the deficit to one, but Noll's score with 1:20 remaining in the contest would hold up as the game-winner despite a UCLA goal with 52 seconds remaining.
California - 2 2 3 3 - 10
Stanford - 1 1 3 3 - 8
Stanford Goal Scorers: J. Smith 3, McCarthy, Rudolph, Sefton, D. Wigo, J. Wigo
California Goal Scorers: White 4, Sample 2, Dudley, Rackov, Steffens, Warden
Goalie Saves: Sandman 15 (S); Toppen 14 (C)
UCLA - 0 0 1 3 - 4
Stanford - 0 2 2 1 - 5
Stanford Goal Scorers: Noll 2, Rudolph, J. Smith, J. Wigo
UCLA Goal Scorers: Jorth 2, Davidson, White
Goalie Saves: Sandman 9 (S); Lapin 13 (UCLA)