Sept. 29, 2010
Saturday, Oct. 2 - Los Angeles, Calif.
- vs. - UC San Diego (6-1) - 10:40 a.m.
- vs. - UC Santa Barbara OR Concordia - 4 p.m. OR 5:20 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 3 - Los Angeles, Calif.
- vs. - TBD - TBD
- vs. - TBD - TBD
STANFORD, Calif. - The No. 4 Stanford men's water polo team (4-2) heads to Los Angeles this weekend for the SoCal Invitational, hosted by UCLA. The Cardinal will open the tournament Saturday morning, Oct. 2 against No. 13 UC San Diego at 10:40 a.m. at the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center.
About The Opposition
UC San Diego (6-5), ranked 15th in this week's Varsity Top 20 Poll, enters this weekend's SoCal Invitational on a season-best three-game winning streak following a 20-10 victory over Chapman. The Tritons win total includes a victory over nationally-ranked East Coast power Navy, although UCSD is 0-3 this season against MPSF schools.
Ryan Allred and William Brown lead the Tritons with 14 goals apiece while Brian Donohoe is right behind them with 12. In the cage, David Morton has seen the bulk of playing time, making 81 saves so far in 2010.
Last Time Out
Stanford last saw action two weekends ago at the NorCal Invitational in the East Bay. On the first day of action, the Cardinal defeated UC Davis, 13-5, before getting by UC Santa Barbara, 7-6, to earn passage into the semifinal round. Sunday's semifinals were not as kind to the Cardinal, though, as it dropped a close 10-9 decision to No. 1 UCLA before falling in the third-place game, 11-8, to cross-Bay rival California.
For the weekend, Jacob Smith led the team with eight goals while Sage Wright added six. Sophomore Travis Noll got on the scoresheet for the first time in 2010 over the weekend, scoring a total of four goals.
Stanford In The National Rankings
Stanford remained at the No. 4 spot in the Sept. 29 poll after a fourth-place finish two weekends ago at the NorCal Invitational in Berkeley.
Road To The SoCal Invitational
Stanford will be the No. 4 seed at this weekend's SoCal Invitational hosted by UCLA. As a result, the Cardinal is paired with top-seeded USC on its half of the bracket. Should the Cardinal defeat UCSD in its opening contest, it would play again Saturday at 5:20 p.m. against the winner of game four between UC Santa Barbara and Concordia. With a pair of wins Saturday, Stanford would then qualify for Sunday's championship round and a potential semifinal date with USC to take place at UCLA's Spieker Aquatics Center.
Last Year At The SoCal Invitational
In Stanford's participation at this tournament, called the UCI Invitational, last year, the Cardinal, ranked No. 1 in the nation at the time, reached the semifinals only to be denied a chance at the title game in a 10-8 loss to California. Stanford had defeated Princeton and Pepperdine on Day One to reach the Sunday championship round. Although it dropped its semifinal contest, the Cardinal bounced back to claim third place with a 5-4 victory over UCLA.
Smith On The Attack
A year after finishing third on the team with 37 goals, junior Jacob Smith has continued his nice scoring pace six games into the 2010 campaign. At the NorCal Invitational two weekends ago, Smith led the Cardinal offense with eight goals, including a hat trick in the Cardinal's tight 7-6 victory over UC Santa Barbara in Saturday's second round. The next day, Smith scored twice more in the team's narrow 10-9 semifinal loss to UCLA, then added a final goal in the third-place game loss to California.
Feels Good To Be Back
Redshirt senior Sage Wright has made an impact in his return to the Cardinal lineup after missing last season due to a torn ACL. Through the first six games of 2010, Wright has posted 10 goals, tied for second on the team list. Last weekend at the NorCal Invitational, Wright showed his 2008 form as he scored six goals at the tournament, second amongst all Cardinal players. Wright would score twice in each of the Cardinal's first two games on Saturday, then added a pair of goals in Stanford's third-place game loss to California.
Undefeated At Home
Stanford's 8-6 win over California in the Big Splash last November completed a perfect 2009 home season, as the Cardinal went a perfect 10-0 at Avery Aquatic Center. It marked Stanford's first undefeated home campaign since going 9-0 at Avery in 2005. Since the 2005 season, Stanford has put up an impressive 38-7 record (.844) at Avery Aquatic Center.
Among The MPSF Leaders
Stanford men's water polo is represented among the top-20 scorers in the MPSF rankings through Sept. 27. Jacob Smith is fourth in the conference with 2.50 goals per game while Paul Rudolph and Sage Wright are tied for 19th with 1.67 goals per game.
Goalie Brian Pingree is third with a 6.53 goals-against average while also ranking fourth with 6.67 saves per game. On the team level, Stanford ranks second in total defense (6.67 goals allowed per game) and fourth in total offense (12.50 goals per game).
Head Coach John Vargas
Head coach John Vargas is in his ninth year at the helm of the Cardinal program in 2010. Vargas' record at Stanford is 175-51 (.774) against the top collegiate competition in the country, and he led the Cardinal to the 2002 national title in his first year at the helm. He has also led the Cardinal to the 20-win mark five times. Under Vargas' watch, 37 Stanford water polo players have earned All-America honors, including five in 2008. Three of his former Stanford players, Tony Azevedo, Peter Hudnut, and Peter Varellas, represented the United States as part of its 2008 Olympic Team in Beijing.