Nov. 26, 2008
Friday, Nov. 28 - Malibu, Calif.
MPSF Tournament Quarterfinal
No. 2 Stanford (22-4, 6-2 MPSF)
- at -
No. 8 Long Beach State (14-15, 2-6 MPSF) - 11:30 a.m.
STANFORD, Calif. - The No. 2 Stanford men's water polo team (22-4, 6-2 MPSF) travels to Malibu for the weekend to take part in the 2008 MPSF Tournament, set to take place from Nov. 28-30 on the campu of Pepperdine University. The second-seeded Cardinal open up tournament play Friday, Nov. 28 at 11:30 a.m. against eighth-ranked and seventh-seeded Long Beach State (14-15, 2-6 MPSF). A Stanford victory would advance the Cardinal into the semifinals, while a loss would put it in the consolation bracket.
About The Opposition
Long Beach State enters the MPSF Tournament having won three of its last four contests, defeating Loyola Marymount, Pacific and UC Irvine and falling only to California in an 11-10 sudden-death decision. The 49ers are helmed by Gavin Arroyo and led in the pool by leading scorers Jeff Greenwood (43 goals) and Jake Kinne (34), while goalkeeper Derek Wiebe-Bailey averages 9.41 saves per game. Stanford and Long Beach State have already met once this season, with the Cardinal coming out on top, 13-7, at Avery Aquatic Center on Oct. 25.
Stanford In The National Rankings
Stanford took over the No. 2 in the national rankings on the strength of its 9-8 victory over No. 4 California and then-No. 2 UCLA's loss to Pepperdine last weekend.
How The MPSF Tournament Shapes Up For The Cardinal...
Stanford opens up MPSF Tournament play against the seventh-seeded Long Beach State 49ers Friday at 11:30 a.m. A Cardinal win puts Stanford in the semifinals against the winner of Friday's Pepperdine-UC Santa Barbara quarterfinal. That semifinal game would take place at 3 p.m. Saturday. If Stanford loses Friday, the Cardinal would face the loser of the previous game at 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Should the Cardinal win its first two games, it will take part in the tournament's title game at 3 p.m. Sunday.
Going For First Title In Four Years
This weekend in Malibu, the Cardinal will be vying for its first MPSF Tournament title since 2004. Since that time, Stanford has finished second in the tournament (2005) and taken fourth in each of the past two years.
A Chance To Play For The National Title At Home
Not only is an MPSF Tournament title at stake for the Cardinal this weekend in Malibu, but also a chance to earn one of two available berths in the 2008 National Collegiate Men's Water Polo Championship to be held Dec. 6-7 at Stanford's Avery Aquatic Center. Stanford has not been in the national championship tournament since 2005, when it finished second for the third straight year. The Cardinal is also keeping its sights on an 11th national title, and first since winning back-to-back crowns in 2001 and 2002.
Drac Wigo Named MPSF Mikasa Co-Player Of The Week
After posting his seventh hat trick of the season in Saturday's 9-8 Big Splash victory over No. 4 California, Drac Wigo was named MPSF Mikasa Co-Player of the Week Monday morning, making him the fourth Stanford player to capture at least a share of the honor this season. Wigo joins his brother Janson (Sept. 15), Will Hindle-Katel (Oct. 13) and Jimmie Sandman (Oct. 20) as Stanford's four 2008 player of the week honorees.
Coming Up Big In The Big Splash
Stanford clinched the second seed in this weekend's MPSF Tournament with last Saturday's dramatic 9-8 victory over No. 4 California in the annual Big Splash, held this season in Berkeley. Drac Wigo led the Cardinal with his seventh hat trick, scoring three goals including the eventual game-winner with just 1:21 to go in the contest. The victory was also the third in a row for the Cardinal in the Big Splash and marked its second win of this season over the Golden Bears.
Freshman Nets A Key Goal
In Saturday's 9-8 Big Splash victory, the Cardinal received one of the biggest goals of the game from a 2008 rookie, Peter Sefton. After California knotted things up at 7-7 early on in the fourth period, Sefton stepped up and delivered with the go-ahead goal with 4:32 remaining in the contest. After Drac Wigo added a goal to increase the advantage to two, the Cardinal held off a late Golden Bear charge to take the 9-8 decision.
Among The MPSF Leaders
With one weekend left in the 2008 regular 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 11.31 goals per game. On the defensive end, the Cardinal defense is also second with just 4.96 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 1.85 goals per game ranks seventh in the MPSF, while Drac's average of 1.65 stands ninth. Sage Wright is also in the MPSF's top 25, standing tied for 22nd with an average of 1.31.
On the defensive end of the tank, starter Jimmie Sandman leads the conference with a 4.50 goals-against average among all full-time MPSF goalkeepers, while fellow cage-minder Brian Pingree boasts a 2.50 goals-against average over his 12 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 145-43 (.771) 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. Including this season, he has also led the Cardinal to the 20-win mark five 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, represented the United States as part of its 2008 Olympic Team in Beijing.