Nov. 8, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. -
It took over two months to happen but MPSF powers No. 3 Stanford and No. 2 UCLA will finally come face-to-face in the pool this Friday night at 6 p.m. in Los Angeles. The high-stakes contest will have large implications on seeding for the MPSF Tournament as well as National Collegiate Championship hopes.
The Cardinal (14-4, 4-2 MPSF) and Bruins (22-2, 4-0 MPSF) occupy spots in the MPSF standings matching their national rankings, and Friday night's contest will go a long way towards clearing up the MPSF Tournament seeding picture. A win clinches the head-to-head tiebreaker which would determine the higher seed in the draw should Stanford and UCLA finish the conference season with matching records.
Friday's game also serves as the penultimate match of the regular season for the Cardinal, which will just have Pacific remaining on its schedule next Friday at Avery Aquatic Center.
The Cardinal has won a season-high six in a row and eight of its past nine entering Friday, coming off of non-conference wins over UC Davis and Santa Clara last weekend. Freshman Bret Bonnani has scored 45 goals over the past nine games, raising his team-leading goal total to 64. Sophomore Alex Bowen is next on the list with 49 goals.
Last weekend the Cardinal got hat tricks from Nick Hoversten, BJ Churnside, Ian Gamble and Michael Carter to propel an offensive outburst of 42 goals over the two victories.
In the cage, all three Cardinal goalies saw action, with Scott Platshon going the distance Saturday in Davis and Clayton Evans and Hunter Ploch each playing a half Sunday.
The Bruins have won eight in a row heading into Friday's contest, the last loss coming at the SoCal Tournament back on Sept. 30. Friday's game begins a regular season-ending stretch of four straight MPSF games for UCLA, which is led by the scoring of Josh Samuels (52 goals) and Griffin White (34) as well as the goalkeeping tandem of Matt Rapacz and Stephen White.