Feb. 20, 2013
UCI Invitational Central
STANFORD, Calif. - Top-ranked Stanford women's water polo returns from a two-week layoff this weekend, traveling to Orange County for the UCI Invitational.
The Cardinal (9-0), the draw's top seed, opens up action Saturday morning at Corona del Mar High School against CSU Bakersfield. The contest is set for a 9 a.m. start.
The Cardinal and Roadrunners are joined in Group A by San Jose State and Hawai'i, which face one another at 10:15 a.m. The winners of the two games will face off at 2 p.m. with the losers meeting at 3:15 p.m. The team that wins twice will go on to Sunday's semifinals at UC Irvine.
Last time the Cardinal was in action, it claimed a 15-4 road win over UC Davis to up its season-opening win streak to nine games. The Cardinal had previously captured its fourth straight Stanford Invitational title on Feb. 3 with an 8-5 win over No. 3 UCLA.
Heading into this weekend senior Melissa Seidemann leads the Cardinal with 25 goals while freshmen Anna Yelizarova (24 goals) and Maggie Steffens (13) sandwich reigning national player of the year Kiley Neushul (14) on the Cardinal scoring ledger.
Despite no shortage of offensive options, Stanford's defense has imposed a goal-scoring curfew on its opponents this season, allowing just 33 goals so far. This effort is anchored by the Cardinal's goalkeeping trio of senior Kate Baldoni (3.65 goals-against average), sophomore Emily Dorst (4.57) and freshman Gabby Stone (2.67).
The Cardinal last captured the UCI Invitational title in 2011. Last year Stanford dropped a 5-4 title-game decision to UCLA.
CSU Bakersfield (4-9) has won three of its past five games heading into Saturday's meeting. The Roadrunners, which split a pair of games at the Davis Challenge last weekend, are led by Nicola Barrett (19 goals) and Shannon McKenzie (15) while Alex Bayer (7.50 saves per game) has seen the majority of the action in the cage.