Feb. 25, 2009
Complete Notes in PDF Format
STANFORD, Calif. - The Stanford women's water polo team (11-1, 1-0 MPSF), fresh off of its second Irvine Invitational championship in the past three seasons, plays its first contest as the top-ranked team in the nation Saturday afternoon, hosting the No. 8 San Jose State Spartans in an MPSF contest at 1 p.m. at Avery Aquatic Center.
About The Opposition
San Jose State (8-8, 1-1 MPSF) enters Saturday's contest having dropped six of its last eight contests, as well as posting a record of 1-3 and finishing eighth at the Irvine Invitational last weekend.
On the year, the Spartans are led by the scoring of Dani Curran (33 goals), Juliet Moss (27) and Bridget McKee (21). In the cage, goalie Meagan Minson leads the Spartans with 94 saves and a goals-against average of 8.77.
The Cardinal and Spartans have met once already this season, last Saturday in group play of the Irvine Invitational. Stanford came out victorious in the contest by a score of 13-7 to advance to the semifinals of the tournament.
In The National Rankings
The Cardinal ascended to the top spot in the national rankings after capturing the Irvine Invitational title last weekend. Stanford defeated previously top-ranked and unbeaten USC 12-11 in sudden-death overtime in the championship game.
The ranking marks the first time that the Cardinal has been ranked No. 1 in the nation since it entered the 2007 National Collegiate Women's Water Polo Championship atop the polls.
Last Time Out
Stanford posted four consecutive victories in Southern California, including a dramatic 12-11 sudden-death win against No. 1 USC, to capture the Irvine Invitational championship for the second time in the last three years.
The Cardinal, seeded second in the draw, opened the tournament with a 16-6 victory over No. 16 UC San Diego thanks to hat tricks from Alyssa Lo, Pallavi Menon, and the returning Lauren Silver, who saw game action for the first time this season at the tournament.
Stanford continued the winning ways in Saturday's nightcap, downing No. 7t San Jose State, 13-7, behind hat tricks from Koree Blyleven and Melissa Seidemann.
Sunday, the Cardinal opened up semifinal action by coming from behind to defeat No. 3 Hawai'i 11-10, as Seidemann scored four goals and goalie Amber Oland made seven saves. Seidemann would again be the catalyst in the evening, scoring three goals, including the game-winner, in the championship victory over the Women of Troy.
Seidemann Dominates The Irvine Invtiational
Freshman two-meter Melissa Seidemann became the first Stanford player in 2009 to earn MPSF Player of the Week honors when the conference honored her Monday. Seidemann captured the honor thanks in part to her dominating performance this past weekend at the Irvine Invitational, where she led the Cardinal with 10 goals. The Walnut Creek native scored four times in Stanford's 11-10 semifinal victory over Hawai'i, then added three goals, including the game-winner, in the 12-11 sudden-death victory over No. 1 USC.
Silver Makes A Splash In Return
Senior driver Lauren Silver, Stanford's leading scorer in each of the previous three seasons, saw her first action of the season at this past weekend's Irvine Invitational. The senior made an impact right away, posting a hat trick in the 16-6 victory over UC San Diego, then adding another pair in the nightcap Saturday against San Jose State. Silver then scored three more goals Sunday to end the weekend with eight goals.
More Senior Leadership
Another senior who stepped up in Stanford's successful weekend was driver Koree Blyleven. A native of San Diego, Blyleven netted five goals total over the weekend, including a key hat trick in Saturday evening's 13-7 victory over San Jose State which launched the Cardinal into the semifinal round.
Goalie Tag Team In The Cage
This weekend's championship run at the Irvine Invitational served not only to showcase Stanford's offensive might, but its strong goalkeeping tandem as well. Sophomores Amber Oland and Kim Hall each saw time in the cage last weekend, with Hall making five saves in the tournament-opening win over UC San Diego, then Oland making 21 saves over the next three games to anchor the Cardinal defensively in its run to the tournament title.
Shaking The Cage
Stanford's explosive offense has firmly established itself as one of the best in the MPSF, averaging 13.42 goals per game. At last weekend's Irvine Invitational, the Cardinal scored 52 goals, an average of 13.00 per game.
Among The MPSF Leaders
Melissa Seidemann's 2.67 goals per game average is tied for fourth in the conference, while Kelly Eaton is 13th among all MPSF players with a 1.76 goals per game. In the cage, Amber Oland is sixth in the conference with 6.57 saves per game, and Kim Hall's 4.88 goals-against average is third-best in the MPSF.
As a team, Stanford's 13.42 goals per game ranks second and its 7.25 goals-against average is fourth in the MPSF.
Stanford Women's Water Polo Players Shine At Olympics
Head coach John Tanner saw three of his current and former charges succeed at the sport's highest level, the 2008 Olympic Games, this past summer as Brenda Villa (`03), Alison Gregorka (`07) and Jessica Steffens (`10) helped the U.S. claim the silver medal in Beijing. The Cardinal trio accounted for 19 of the team's 50 goals, with Villa being the team's co-leader with nine. Gregorka and Steffens each made their Olympic debut, while Villa made her third appearance in the Games and captained the U.S. squad.
Head Coach John Tanner
Head coach John Tanner enters his 12th year at the helm of the Cardinal program in 2009. Tanner, a five-time MPSF Coach of the Year selection, has accumulated a record of 282-49 (.852) on The Farm over that time. He has led Stanford to every NCAA Championship tournament since its inception in 2001, and has won a national title (2002) as well as turning in four national runner-up finishes (2001, `03, `05, `07). Over his previous 11 seasons guiding the Stanford program, Tanner has also produced 11 U.S. National Team members as well as six Olympians, including Brenda Villa, Alison Gregorka and Jessica Steffens at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.