Oct. 10, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. -
Fifth-ranked Stanford men's water polo heads to Southern California for the second time in three weeks this Saturday and Sunday, visiting No. 2 UC Santa Barbara and No. 8 Pepperdine, respectively.
The trip opens a three-game road stretch for the Cardinal, a stretch that concludes next Saturday, Oct. 20 in Berkeley for the Big Splash against California.
The Cardinal (6-3, 0-1 MPSF) enters the weekend in search of its first conference win, having dropped its MPSF opener last Saturday in a 9-6 loss to No. 1 USC at Avery Aquatic Center. Alex Bowen, who scored twice in the loss to the Trojans, leads the Cardinal with 24 goals this season while freshman Bret Bonnani is next with 20 goals.
Redshirt junior two-meter Forrest Watkins has scored 14 goals this year while teaming with fellow two-meter players Conner Cleary and Andrew LaForge on the defensive efforts in the hole. Their efforts on the defensive end, along with those of goalie Scott Platshon, have the Cardinal defense ranked fifth in the MPSF with 7.33 goals allowed per game.
Stanford's first crack at its first MPSF win comes Saturday at second-ranked UC Santa Barbara (14-3, 0-0 MPSF) at 12 p.m. Saturday's clash will be the third of the season between the two schools. Each school owns a victory over the other, as Stanford defeated UC Santa Barbara 8-7 in the NorCal Invitational second round at Avery back on Sept. 15, and the Gauchos returned the favor in their home pool Sept. 29 with a 12-9 victory in the SoCal Tournament second round.
The Gauchos have won six of their past seven decisions, a stretch that included upsets of then-No. 4 Stanford and then-No. 2 UCLA during UCSB's surprise run to the SoCal Tournament final. UCSB is led by the scoring of Matt Gronow (37 goals) and Evan Dellinger (34) while goalie Miles Christian is third in the MPSF with 11.45 saves per game.
The weekend wraps up Sunday in Malibu as the Cardinal visits Pepperdine (7-5, 0-0 MPSF) for a 1 p.m. contest. The teams met in the SoCal Tournament 5-8 classification round on Sept. 30, with Stanford grabbing the 13-8 victory.
The Waves, winners of two straight last weekend to halt a three-game slide, are led on offense by Stephen Loomis (25 goals) and Matthew DeTrane (23) while in the cage Bence Valics ranks second in the MPSF with 12.42 saves per game.