Saturday, Oct. 18 - Pasadena, Calif.
- at -
UCLA (8-3, 1-0 MPSF) - 10 a.m.
Sunday, Oct. 19 - Santa Cruz, Calif.
- at -
UC Santa Cruz (6-12) - 12 p.m.
STANFORD, Calif. - The No. 2 Stanford men's water polo team (13-2, 0-0 MPSF) enters competition encompassing both halves of California this weekend, beginning Saturday morning with a 10 a.m. MPSF contest against No. 4 UCLA (8-3, 1-0 MPSF) at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center in Pasadena, and concluding in a meeting with UC Santa Cruz (6-12) at 12 p.m. in Santa Cruz. This weekend will bring a close to Stanford's stretch of 11 games away from home, as the Cardinal returns to Avery Aquatic Center for a pair of contests next week.
About The Opposition
No. 4 UCLA (8-3, 1-0 MPSF), which surrendered its hold on the nation's No. 2 ranking to Stanford on Wednesday, will be looking to avenge its 7-4 loss to the Cardinal last Saturday at the SoCal Tournament. The semifinal meeting was the first of the year between the two schools in 2008, and the 7-4 win marked Stanford's second straight victory over the Bruins. UCLA looks to also halt its two-game skid, which also includes a 12-11 overtime loss to California in the SoCal third-place game. The Bruins are led by Krsto Sbutega's 22 goals and by the defensive play of goalkeeper Chay Lapin, who boasts a goals-against average of just 5.22.
UC Santa Cruz (6-12), a member of the Western Water Polo Association, heads into Sunday's contest looking to end a 10-game losing streak. Sunday's meeting will be the first of the season between the Cardinal and the Banana Slugs. Stanford was victorious in last year's meeting, 22-5.
Stanford In The National Rankings
Thanks in part to a victory over then-No. 2 UCLA in the semifinals of the SoCal Tournament, Stanford jumped a spot in the national rankings to No. 2. The No. 2 ranking equals Stanford's highest ascent in the polls from the 2007 season, and the Cardinal will put that ranking on the line Saturday against UCLA, the very team it replaced in the second slot.
Another Strong Showing At SoCal
For the second year in a row, Stanford claimed second place at the prestigious SoCal Tournament. Beginning the tournament at Burns Aquatic Center on the campus of Loyola Marymount, the Cardinal routed Princeton, 12-4, then got out to an early lead and held off a late charge from the host Lions, capturing the 10-8 victory to earn a place in Sunday's semifinal round. Stanford's defense brought its A-game Sunday, as it held UCLA to just four goals in a 7-4 semifinal victory, earning the right to face No. 1 USC for the SoCal Tournament title. The Cardinal defense once again played admirably, limiting the high-scoring Trojan offense to just seven goals in regulation. On offense, the Cardinal took early leads of 3-2 after one period, and 5-4 at halftime, then fought its way back into the contest late, scoring two straight fourth-period goals to send the game into overtime at 7-7. Unfortunately, USC would prevail, 8-7, in overtime to take the tournament title.
Hindle-Katel Named MPSF Mikasa Co-Player Of The Week
Senior utility Will Hindle-Katel captured Stanford's second MPSF Mikasa Co-Player of the Week honor of the 2008 season after his stellar performance in the Cardinal's second-place finish at the SoCal Tournament. Hindle-Katel's two-way effort in the pool led to six goals in Stanford's four contests on the offensive end, and on defense, it helped hold No. 2 UCLA to just four goals in the 7-4 semifinal win. In the title game, Hindle-Katel's defensive performance in the two-meter position helped limit the Trojans to just seven goals in regulation, just half of USC's MPSF-leading scoring average.
Defense Puts On A Show
The Stanford defense has been consistently limiting opponents through the first half of the 2008 season, allowing just 5.00 goals per game, second-best in the MPSF. Out of the first 15 games of the season, the Cardinal has allowed opponents to reach a double-digit goals figure just twice (USC and California on Sept. 21), and 12 times has held an opponent to five or less goals. Stanford's season-best in goals allowed currently stands at two, accomplished four times already this season.
Stanford's 11.53 goals per game average, second-best in the MPSF, and its 173 goals on the year, symbolize a healthy team effort when the team stats show that 15 different players have scored in 2008. Led by the scoring totals of the Wigo brothers, Janson (32 goals) and Drac (28), and Sage Wright (20), the Cardinal has proven its ability to not only score from any position in the pool, but also get goals from any player in the tank at any given moment.
Among The MPSF Leaders
Five weekends of play into the 2008 season, Stanford continues to hold lofty positions in the MPSF statistical rankings. In the team stats categories, the Cardinal boast the conference's second-most efficient offense, with 11.53 goals per game. On the defensive end, the Cardinal remains third with just 5.00 goals allowed per game.
Individually, Janson and Drac Wigo continue to hold spots in the conference's top 10 for goals per game. Janson's 2.13 goals per game ranks third in the MPSF, while Drac's average of 1.87 stands seventh. Sage Wright is also in the MPSF's top 25, as his 1.33 scoring average is tied for 21st.
On the defensive end of the tank, starter Jimmie Sandman leads the conference with a 4.23 goals-against average among all full-time MPSF goalkeepers, while fellow cage-minder Brian Pingree boasts a 2.50 goals-against average over his eight appearances on the year.
Head Coach John Vargas
Head coach John Vargas enters his seventh year at the helm of the Cardinal program in 2008. Vargas' record at Stanford is 136-41 (.768) 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 four times. Under Vargas' watch, 29 Stanford water polo players have earned All-America honors, including six in 2007, the program's highest total since 2001. Three of his former Stanford players, Tony Azevedo, Peter Hudnut, and Peter Varellas, represent the United States as part of its 2008 Olympic Team in Beijing.