Nov. 27, 2011
MPSF Championship Central
LOS ANGELES - In what it knew going in would be its final game of the 2011 season, fourth-ranked Stanford men's water polo aimed to avenge last week's Big Splash loss to No. 3 California. But an early lead did not hold up as the Cardinal dropped the MPSF Championship third-place game to the Golden Bears by a score of 8-7 Sunday in Los Angeles.
Stanford finishes the season with an overall record of 19-7, and finished fourth in the MPSF regular season with a 5-3 mark.
Paul Rudolph led the Cardinal with three goals in the contest, while Ryan Brown, Travis Noll, Jacob Smith and Forrest Watkins each added a score.
The Cardinal was without leading scorer Alex Bowen all weekend.
Goalie Brian Pingree made seven saves Sunday, for a total of 27 over the three tournament contests.
Rudolph opened the scoring with 2:47 remaining in the opening period, and Watkins followed up 1:03 into the second to put the Cardinal ahead 2-0. California would tie it up with extra-man goals from Aleksa Saponjic and Giacomo Cupido within the next 90 seconds. The defenses held over the next five minutes until Rudolph broke the tie with an extra-man goal 34 seconds from halftime and the Cardinal took a 3-2 lead into the break.
That would be Stanford's final lead, though, as the Golden Bears scored the first three goals of the second half to go up 5-3 with 2:57 to go in the third frame. Smith would answer for the Cardinal 26 seconds later, and the teams would trade goals over the final 21 seconds of the period, making it 6-5 California heading into the final eight minutes.
Each team would score twice in the frame, as the Cardinal could not equalize. California extended the lead back to two at 8-6 with1:28 to play, until Brown's goal made it 8-7 with 18 seconds left. From there, though, California was able to run out the clock and collect the win.
Stanford - 1 2 2 2 = 7
California - 0 2 4 2 = 8
Stanford Goal Scorers: Rudolph 3, Brown, Noll, Smith, Watkins
California Goal Scorers: Cupido 2, Keren 2, A. Saponjic 2, Balarin, L. Saponjic
Goalie Saves: Pingree 7 (S), Parsons 6 (C)