March 27, 2004
STANFORD, CA - The Cardinal Women's Water Polo team played host to the United States National Team on Saturday at Avery Aquatics Center, losing the exhibition 14-7. Stanford was led by Laurel Champion and Wendy Watkins, who each had 2 goals. Alison Gregorka, Nancy El-Sakkary, and Lauren Faust each had scores for the Cardinal.
The exhibition marked a return to the Farm for four former Cardinal stars. Jackie Frank started in goal for the U.S. and had 6 saves. Brenda Villa and Ellen Estes both scored 2 goals and Margie Dingeldein added some tremendous defense. They were all greeted with warm applause from the boisterous crowd of 638, the largest of the year at Avery.
Robin Beuregard and Kelly Rulon had 3 scores apiece for the U.S. and Heather Moody also put 2 in the net. The U.S. wasted no time getting the scoring started early, with Thalia Munro scoring 51 seconds into the game on a 6-on-5 that was prompted by an ejection by the Cardinal's Hannah Luber. Stanford tied it back up with 1:53 to play in the first quarter when Wendy Watkins scored her first of the game. The U.S. came storming back down the pool a minute later with Beuregard's first goal of the night, a bullet from 6 meters out into the corner of the net.
The first half was an intense defensive struggle with many shots going off the goalposts and Stanford kept the National Team's Jackie Frank awake by peppering her with many shots that nearly missed. At the half, the score was 3-2 and spectacular goalkeeping by Frank and Stanford's Meridith McColl highlighted the half. McColl had one spectacular save on a penalty shot with 4:08 in the second quarter, after Laurel Champion was called for a 4-meter foul. The Cardinal missed a chance to tie the game up before going into the half when they missed 3 shots on a 6-on-5 with 55 seconds to go.
The third quarter was a firefight, with 10 goals being scored between the two teams during the 7 minute frame. The defenses of both teams disappeared and there was a score almost every time the ball came down the pool. Stanford's Alison Gregorka
netted a goal a noteworthy goal with 2:54 remaining in the period from 6-meters out that Frank had no chance of getting. On the National Team's ensuing possession, Ellen Estes
racked up an impressive score after recovering a rebound that went high off the crossbar and into the 4-meter zone and nailed the put-back with 2:35 to go in the period and put the U.S. up 9-4.
Stanford switched goalkeepers in the fourth quarter, giving Amanda Matuk a chance to slow down the National Team's scoring pace and she gave up 4 goals and made one spectacular save. An interesting chain of events transpired with 5:35 left in the game when Natalie Golda got ejected and then 3 seconds later Stanford's Lauren Faust got tangled up with U.S. keeper Jackie Frank, giving Faust a penalty shot. Faust nailed the shot, to bring the Cardinal within 13-6.
Stanford Head Coach John Tanner had this to say about his team's match-up against one of the world's premier teams: "We had a good first half, even though we weren't scoring on six-on-fives. We got a lot of shots in and we made them play. We came out in the second half and just gave them too many easy goals. They are the number one team in the world and it's not bad. We needed to play better on offense and defense...just to give ourselves a chance"
U.S. National Team Coach Guy Baker: "It was a good game and Stanford did a great job. They got our attention in the second half with all the scoring. Stanford is probably the best team we've played so far and they will probably be one of the better teams we play on this tour. The atmosphere was great, the crowd was great, the environment was great and it was great to play here."
Game Summary 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
Stanford 1 1 3 2 7
United States 2 1 7 4 14
Stanford Scorers: Champion 2, Watkins 2, El-Sakkary, Faust, Gregorka
U.S. Scorers: Beuregard 3, Rulon 3, Estes 2, Moody 2, Villa 2, Lorenz, Munro
Goalie Saves: McColl (Stanford) 7, Frank (U.S.) 6, Matuk (Stanford) 1