Jan. 18, 2010
2010 MPSF Preseason Coaches Poll
STANFORD, Calif. - The top-ranked Stanford women's water polo team was tabbed as the preseason favorite to capture the MPSF crown in 2010, according to a poll of the conference's head coaches. The Cardinal received five of the eight first-place votes for a total of 45 points, three more than runner-up USC.
The Women of Troy earned a first-place vote and 42 points in the poll, and were followed by 2009 national champion UCLA, which received the remaining two first-place votes and a total of 38 points. National Collegiate Championship participant Hawai'i and California rounded out the top half of the voting results with 30 points each.
Stanford, voted No. 1 in the Preseason Varsity Top 20 poll, is coming off of a 2009 season that saw it claim a third-place finish at the National Collegiate Championship last May. The Cardinal ended the year with a 26-4 overall record and finished second in the MPSF regular-season standings with a 6-1 mark. Stanford also spent just under two months ranked No. 1 in the national poll last year, from Feb. 25-April 22.
Head coach John Tanner returns for his 13th season at the Cardinal helm, and enters the 2010 season holding a career record of 297-52 (.851).
Among Stanford's returners in 2010 are three All-Americans in two-meter and 2008 Olympian Jessica Steffens who scored 12 goals in '09 and is a stout defensive presence, MPSF Newcomer of the Year and two-meter Melissa Seidemann, the team's leading scorer a year ago with 59 goals, and driver Kelly Eaton, who scored 45 goals in 2009.
Five 20-goal scorers return for the Cardinal in 2009, as in addition to Seidemann and Eaton, two-meter Alex Koran (29 goals), and drivers Pallavi Menon (27 goals) and Kim Krueger (21 goals) will also be part of a potent Stanford offense. Stanford's 2010 senior class of Steffens, Eaton, Koran and Kelsey Holshouser (14 goals last year) accounted for 100 of Stanford's 382 goals a year ago.
In goal, juniors Amber Oland (7.05 saves per game in '09) and Kim Hall (4.67 saves per game) return to the squad, and are joined by U.S. Junior National Team member and freshman Kate Baldoni.
In the field, the freshmen are led by U.S. Junior National Team two-meter Annika Dries, and drivers Vee Dunlevie and Jillian Garton.
Stanford will open the 2010 season at the NorCal Invitational in Berkeley from Jan. 29-31. The Cardinal's season-opener will take place Saturday, Jan. 30 at 11:45 a.m. against UC Santa Barbara.