Feb. 6, 2009
STANFORD, Calif. -
Despite a shaky start, the second-ranked Stanford women's water polo team eventually found its rhythm and passed its first tough test of the season, posting an 8-6 comeback victory over No. 4 Hawai'i Friday evening at Avery Aquatic Center.
Junior Kelly Eaton, an All-America honorable mention last year, led the Cardinal (2-0, 1-0 MPSF) with three goals for her second straight hat trick to open the season. Additional Stanford goals were scored by seniors Koree Blyleven, Kira Hillman and Heather West, as well as freshmen Cassie Churnside and Pallavi Menon.
In the cage, sophomore Amber Oland went the distance, making seven saves in the victory and anchoring a defense that allowed the Rainbow Wahine (4-2, 0-2 MPSF) just two goals in the second half. Hawai'i's Serena Bredin made four saves in the contest.
Hawai'i got out to a fast start in Friday's contest, taking a 2-1 advantage after the opening eight minutes and extending the lead to 4-2 with 5:30 remaining in the second period. It was then that the Cardinal got on track, as Eaton got the comeback started with a 6-on-5 goal to halve the Hawai'i lead, followed by Hillman's score from the perimeter to equalize going into the break.
The halftime break did nothing to hinder Stanford's momentum, as West got the second-half scoring started by rifling a nice shot into the opposite corner of the cage to give the Cardinal the 5-4 lead. Menon would double the lead with her first collegiate goal and Eaton would bury a penalty shot to make it five unanswered goals and a 7-4 advantage.
Stanford and Hawai'i would trade goals before the end of the period, but from that point, the Cardinal defense would take over, limiting the Rainbow Wahine to just one more goal the rest of the way.
The Cardinal now heads into this weekend's Stanford Invitational, beginning tournament play at 8 a.m. Saturday morning against the Indiana Hoosiers. The Cardinal will finish the day's action at 4:30 p.m. in a highly-anticipated battle against top-ranked USC.
Hawai'i - 2 2 1 1 = 6
Stanford - 1 3 4 0 = 8
Stanford Goal Scorers: Eaton 3, Blyleven, Churnside, Hillman, Menon, West
Hawai'i Goal Scorers: Mason 2, C. Eggens, M. Eggens, Pardon, Van der Molen
Goalie Saves: Oland 7 (S); Bredin 4 (H)