Aug. 16, 2010
2010 MPSF Preseason Coaches' Poll
STANFORD, Calif. - The MPSF Men's Water Polo Preseason Coaches' Poll was announced Monday morning, with Stanford tabbed to finish third in voting by the nine conference head coaches.
The Cardinal earned 54 points, including two first-place votes, in a poll in which the top three teams were separated by a margin of just four points. Cross-Bay rival California topped the voting, with 58 points and four first-place votes while 2009 MPSF tournament champion UCLA was second with 55 points and two first-place votes. USC, the defending NCAA champion, picked up the remaining first-place vote and was fourth with 44 points.
UC Irvine (32 points), UC Santa Barbara (31), Long Beach State (18), Pacific (17) and Pepperdine (15) rounded out the rest of the poll.
The Cardinal, which went 21-4 overall and 7-1 in MPSF play last season, returns three of its top five scorers in 2010, led by All-America honorable mention junior Jacob Smith (37 goals in 2009), and sophomores Travis Noll (32) and Paul Rudolph (30) provide a youthful nucleus to the attack. In the hole, 2009 All-America honorable mention Jeffrey Schwimer returns for his senior season on The Farm after scoring 24 goals a year ago.
Also making his return to action in 2010 is redshirt senior driver Sage Wright, who was forced to sit out last season due to a knee injury suffered in the summer prior to the start of the regular season. A two-time first-team All-American, Wright co-led the team with 33 goals in 2007 and increased his output to 39 goals in 2008 as Stanford reached the NCAA title game that season.
Stanford will be looking to overcome the graduations of two-time All-America goalie Jimmie Sandman, who racked up 232 saves (9.28 per game) and a goals-against average of 5.76 in 2009. Fellow All-Americans Drac and Janson Wigo, the Cardinal's top two scorers last year with 58 and 46 goals, respectively, as well as two-meter Ryan McCarthy (26 goals) will be offensive factors to replace in 2010.
Head coach John Vargas enters his ninth season at the helm of the Cardinal program in 2010. Over the previous eight seasons, Vargas has accumulated a record of 169-49 (.775) and led Stanford to five national championship game appearances and one national title (2002).
Stanford opens the 2010 regular season over Labor Day Weekend, traveling to Irvine for the UCI Invitational from Sept. 4-5.