Dec. 4, 2004
Stanford, Ca. - The top-ranked Stanford men's water polo team advanced to the championship game of the NCAA National Championships with a 14-6 semi-final victory over Loyola Marymount on Saturday at the Avery Aquatic Center.
The Cardinal, 23-4, jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first period on two goals by Matt Moser. Stanford extended the lead to 5-1 at halftime, and then exploded for six goals in the third period to take an 11-3 lead.
Tony Azevedo and Greg Crum each scored three goals while Peter Varellas and Thomas Hopkins added two goals apiece. Endre Rex-Kiss led Loyola Marymount with four goals.
The loss dropped LMU's season record to 20-11.
Stanford will play UCLA (24-3) in the title game on Sunday (2 p.m.) in a game that will be televised nationally on CSTV (College Sports Television). The Bruins avoided a major upset with a 7-5 overtime victory over third-seeded Princeton (25-5). The Tigers led 1-0 after the first period on a goal by Dean Riskas. The score was tied 2-2 at halftime and 3-3 after three periods. UCLA went in front, 5-4, with 5:45 left in regulation on a goal by Peter Belden, but Princeton tied the game with 45 seconds remaining in regulation on a goal by John Stover. UCLA's Ted Peck scored the only goal by either team in the first overtime. In the second overtime, UCLA's Josh Hewko scored at 2:40 to make it 6-4, but Stover scored for Princeton at 1:38 to make it 6-5. But Albert Garcia added an insurance goal at 1:26 of the second overtime to give UCLA a two goal lead.
Stanford and UCLA will be meeting for the fifth time this season on Sunday in the NCAA title game. Each team has won twice.
Stanford 2 3 6 3 = 14
Loyola Marymount 0 1 2 3 = 6
Stanford Scorers: Azevedo 3, Crum 3, Varellas 2, Hopkins 2, Moser 2, Garton 1, Bury 1
LMU Scorers: Rex-Kiss 4, Reynolds 1, Reilly 1
Goalie Saves: Taylor (S) 6, Stockstill (S) 2; Elliott (LMU) 8
UCLA 1 1 1 1 1-2 = 7
Princeton 0 2 1 1 0-1 = 5
UCLA Scorers: Belden 2, Ormsby 1, Hewko 1, Peck 1, Garcia 1
Princeton Scorers: Stover 2, Motlagh 1, Murray 1, Riskas 1
Goalie Saves: Axelrad (UCLA) 1; Sabbatini (P) 12
John Loughran - Loyola Marymount Head Coach
"I thought we played tough in the first half. We came out flat in the second half and they went on a run and that proved to be the shift in the game. Our goalie (Ian Elliott) had a great game. He kept us in the game in the first half."
Ian Elliott - LMU goalkeeper
"Throughout the two years that I have been playing here, I've grown mentally. It was a tough game but it was an important learning experience. Stanford is a difficult team. I played with a few of them on national teams, and they are talented, but not as deep as other teams."
Stanford head coach John Vargas
"I was really proud of our guys, and the way they came out defensively. I was happy with the way they played defensively. Ian Elliott (LMU goalkeeper) did a fantastic job. He is a really good goalie. We were prepared for him but he did a good job. It was great for our younger guys (reserves) to get a taste for what it is like (playing in the NCAA Tournament). It starts with our defense. (preparing for UCLA). We are really going to focus on that and try to control the ball more."
Stanford senior Greg Crum
"If we maintain our defense. we know we will be fine. We need to stay calm and focused (in preparing for UCLA). We know we will be energized. If we can do that and play to our best ability, we'll be fine."
Stanford senior Tony Azevedo
"A lot of times you get into the first game of the tournament, and everyone is excited. A lot of times you get too excited. We have been working and striving for this (winning NCAA championship) all season. It is tough knowing that this will be the last game (Sunday's championship game). This is the most important thing on our mind. We will come out and play as hard as we can."
Princeton head coach Luis Nicolao
"We're obviously disappointed. It was one of those bittersweet games. We couldn't have asked more of our guys. We're proud of our guys. We played great. We wish UCLA luck tomorrow. We're always battling for respect. We feel strongly that we have some good water polo back East. We're always looking to make a name for ourselves. We do a good job of playing defense, and letting our goalie know where the ball was coming from. The game (between Stanford and UCLA) can go either way, depending on which team's goalie is playing better."
Princeton goalkeeper Peter Sabbatini
"Coming into today's game meant a lot for Princeton. And to the guys on the team this meant a lot. It meant a lot to have all the fans (in the stands) today. Our parents, fans, friends and players who could not travel today with the team all supported us from the beginning to the end of the season. Our alumni is amazing. It means a lot to us."
UCLA head coach Adam Krikorian
"I'm sure the crowd was pleased. It was a great game. The Princeton coaches have done a terrific job with those guys. They are an excellent team. They were very aggressive, and did a nice job defensively. We put up 37 shots, but our shooting percentage wasn't very good. We were lucky to get by and play for the championship. That was our goal and that is what we are doing. I'm excited to see our guys play like they are capable of doing. "
UCLA senior Peter Belden
"Our main problem was our shooting percentage. It rallies them (the other team) up and makes it a close game."
UCLA senior Joe Axelrad
"We had Stanford in our minds all week after losing to them (last weekend). We had them as our main focus all week. We overlooked Princeton a little bit. But we set out to win a national championsihp, and a win is a win."