Oct. 28, 2011
STANFORD, Calif. -
Third-ranked Stanford men's water polo will visit second-ranked USC Saturday afternoon in the third matchup between the bitter rivals this season. Saturday's contest will take place at 2:30 p.m. at McDonald's Swim Stadium.
The Cardinal (14-3, 3-1 MPSF) can put itself in good position for one of the top seeds at next month's MPSF Tournament with a victory over the Trojans (13-2, 4-0 MPSF). The teams have split their first two meetings of 2011 so far, with USC capturing a 12-5 win in the NorCal Invitational semifinals on Sept. 18 and Stanford returning the favor with a 6-4 win in the SoCal Tournament semis on Oct. 2.
Stanford has won 11 of its past 12 contests since the start of the SoCal Tournament on Oct. 1. The Cardinal, which was ranked No. 1 for two weeks in the CWPA Varsity Top 20 poll after capturing that tournament, suffered its only setback of October with a 7-6 loss to UCLA on Oct. 15.
Last weekend, the Cardinal won five games, including an MPSF matchup at No. 7 Pacific. So far, freshman Alex Bowen paces the Cardinal with 39 goals on the year, while Jacob Smith (29 goals), Forrest Watkins (27) and Peter Sefton (23) are all enjoying solid campaigns.
Saturday's contest in L.A. will also be a head-to-head matchup of the MPSF's top defenses. USC leads the conference allowing just 4.73 goals per game, while the Cardinal is second with a 5.35 goals-against average.
The goalies for each team, Joel Dennerley for USC and Brian Pingree for Stanford, are first and second, respectively, in the conference in goals-against average. Dennerley allows just 4.83 goals a game while Pingree allows just 5.48 per game.
Peter Kurzeka leads the three-time defending NCAA champion Trojans with 26 goals this season. Kostas Genidounias (19 goals), Jeremy Davie (17) and Nikola Vavic (17) are also amongst the USC scoring leaders.
Saturday's contest kicks off a stretch of three straight road MPSF games for Stanford, as the Cardinal will head back to Southern California next weekend to take on Long Beach State and UC Irvine.