Oct. 13, 2012
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -
Facing off against one of just two teams to defeat it this season, fifth-ranked Stanford men's water polo blitzed second-ranked UC Santa Barbara early and often Saturday for its first MPSF win with a 9-7 decision.
The Cardinal (7-3, 1-1 MPSF) got three goals from freshman driver Bret Bonanni in the win, and goalie Scott Platshon made 10 saves to highlight Stanford's defensive effort. Stanford will go for the weekend sweep tomorrow when it travels to Malibu for a 1 p.m. contest at Pepperdine.
Stanford and UCSB (14-4, 0-1 MPSF) had split the first two meetings of the season between the two schools, each school victorious in its home pool. The Cardinal scored the first five goals of Saturday's contest and went up 7-2 by halftime to break the Gauchos' serve at their home pool.
Nick Hoversten and BJ Churnside scored 51 seconds apart early in the first period to give the Cardinal a quick 2-0 lead. The Cardinal offense pressured early, forcing two UCSB ejections by the 5:48 mark, with Hoversten scoring on the second ejection at 5:47. After a defensive stop, Churnside scored in an even-strength situation at 4:56 to double the advantage.
Stanford forced five more ejections before the end of the frame, making the Gauchos pay on two of those power plays. Bonanni scored his first of the game on the 6-on-5 at 2:23, while Alex Avery found the back of the cage at 1:01, just 11 seconds into another man-up situation for the Cardinal.
Redshirt junior two-meter Forrest Watkins would score at the 4:50 mark of the second period before UCSB's Evan Dellinger finally got the Gauchos on the scoresheet nine seconds later. Alex Bowen would answer 56 seconds after Dellinger's goal to reassert Stanford's five-goal lead.
The teams traded quick goals just before the half, with Dylan Baliani scoring for the Gauchos before Bonanni converted a five-meter penalty shot 20 seconds later to send the Cardinal into the break with a 7-2 lead.
Platshon remained sturdy in the cage, making three saves in each of the first three periods to maintain the Cardinal advantage. Although the Gauchos scored the first two goals of the second half, Bonanni answered with 46 seconds left in the third period to get Stanford's lead to 8-4.
The teams traded goals over the first four minutes of the final frame, with Watkins netting his second of the day for Stanford. The Cardinal defense held its ground over the final four minutes, allowing just two goals and securing the win.
Stanford - 4 3 1 1 = 9
UCSB - 0 2 2 3 = 7
Stanford Goal Scorers - Bonanni 3, Watkins 2, Avery, Bowen, Churnside, Hoversten
UCSB Goal Scorers - Dellinger 2, B. Miller 2, Tomasello 2, Baliani
Goalie Saves - Platshon 10 (S); Christian 7 (UCSB)