Nov. 16, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. -
Third-ranked Stanford men's water polo sent its senior quartet, Alex Avery, Ryan Brown, Andrew LaForge and Travis Noll, out on top Friday night at Avery Aquatic Center with a 12-9 victory over No. 5 Pacific.
LaForge and Noll each scored a first-half goal as the Cardinal (15-5, 5-3 MPSF) netted four goals in the second period to open up a 6-4 lead after a 2-2 first frame. Freshman BJ Churnside led the Cardinal with four goals in the game, while Alex Bowen scored three times, Bret Bonanni twice and Forrest Watkins added a goal.
In the cage, Scott Platshon made seven saves to anchor the Cardinal defense.
Friday's game came down to a high-scoring fourth period in which the teams combined for nine goals. Each team had scored once in the third period, so the Cardinal held a 7-5 advantage going into the final eight minutes. Goals from Bowen and Churnside within the first 59 seconds of the frame doubled the lead to 9-5 but Pacific would fight back.
Kevin Oliveira scored twice for the Tigers and Balazs Erdelyi scored his first of the game with 4:37 remaining to bring Pacific to within one at 9-8. Churnside would get one back for the Cardinal 26 seconds later but Pacific's Alex Obert scored on the 6-on-5 33 seconds after that to get it back to a one-goal game.
Not to be outdone, Churnside scored 24 seconds later, followed by Bonanni's 6-on-5 goal at the 2:30 mark to cap a wild stretch of five goals in 2:07. The Cardinal defense held the Tigers off the board the rest of the way to preserve the 12-9 score.
Pacific had taken leads of 1-0 and 2-1 in the first period, but each time the Cardinal would equalize, first on Noll's opening goal then on Bonanni's first of the game. Churnside and Bowen scored the first two goals of the second frame before Pacific pulled even on goals from Obert and Oliveira. However, LaForge and Watkins would score 19 seconds apart to give Stanford its 6-4 halftime lead.
Stanford's 5-3 MPSF mark clinches at least the fourth seed at next weekend's MPSF Tournament in Los Angeles. The Cardinal will learn its final seed after Sunday's Pacific-California contest in Berkeley. If the Tigers win, the Cardinal will be the third seed at the tournament, while a Golden Bears win keeps the Cardinal fourth.
The Cardinal will open the MPSF Tournament next Friday at either 1:30 p.m. (if the third seed) or 3 p.m. (if the fourth seed).
Pacific - 2 2 1 4 = 9
Stanford - 2 4 1 5 = 12
Stanford Goal Scorers - Churnside 4, Bowen 3, Bonanni 2, LaForge, Noll, Watkins
Pacific Goal Scorers - Oliveira 3, Obert 2, Petrovic 2, Erdelyi, Fleming
Goalie Saves - Platshon 7 (S); Malkis 9 (P)