Nov. 3, 2011
STANFORD, Calif. -
Fourth-ranked Stanford men's water polo begins the final month of the regular season with another trip to Southern California, visiting No. 7 Long Beach State and No. 6 UC Irvine on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, for a pair of MPSF contests.
The Cardinal (14-4, 3-2 MPSF) heads into the weekend in fourth place in the MPSF standings, a half-game ahead of UC Santa Barbara. Last weekend, the Cardinal had its five-game winning streak halted at USC, as the Trojans scored an 8-4 win in Los Angeles.
Freshman Alex Bowen, who scored three goals against the Trojans, leads the Cardinal with 42 goals and is third in the MPSF with a 2.47 goals per game average. Jacob Smith (29 goals) and Forrest Watkins (27) also rank in the conference's top 20, averaging 1.61 and 1.50 goals per game, respectively.
The Cardinal defense remains one of the best in the conference, ranking second with just 5.50 goals allowed per game. Goalie Brian Pingree is also second in the MPSF with a goals-against average of just 5.64.
Long Beach State (14-6, 1-3 MPSF) opens its week Thursday night at UC Irvine before returning home to host the Cardinal at 12 noon Saturday. The 49ers have won three of their past four, most recently capturing the squad's first MPSF victory with a 14-12 double-overtime win against Pepperdine.
The 49ers are led by the scoring of Alex Petrovic, who has netted 41 goals and is fifth in the MPSF with 2.05 goals per game. Defensively, goalie Matt Kubeck ranks fifth with a 7.28 goals-against average.
Sunday's opponent, UC Irvine (13-9, 1-4 MPSF) has dropped three of its last four prior to Thursday's contest against Long Beach State. In that span, the Anteaters lone victory was their first MPSF win, coming against Pacific.
The Anteaters are paced by Mitch Wise, who has scored 59 goals this year and is second in the conference with an average of 2.68 goals per game. Trent Baxter ranks second on the team with 37 goals.
Goalie Michael Bailey leads the MPSF with 10.53 saves per game but the Anteater defense ranks seventh in the nine-team MPSF with 8.00 goals allowed per game.
Sunday's contest in Irvine is set for a 12 noon start.