March 5, 2002
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Cardinal Update . . .
For the third straight weekend, the top-ranked Stanford women's water polo team will take its undefeated record on the road. The Cardinal will travel to Honolulu to face No. 12 Hawai'i on Sunday, March 10, in a MPSF showdown at the Duke Kahanamoku Aquatics Complex. Stanford stands at 10-0 overall and 2-0 in the conference.
The Rankings . . .
Stanford started the 2002 season ranked No. 2 behind the 2001 defending champion UCLA, but defeated the Bruins on Feb. 10 to earn the top spot in the polls. In the latest Water Polo Coaches Association Top 20 Poll, the Cardinal stand at No. 1, followed by UCLA, USC, California and San Jose State. Hawai'i checks in at No. 12.
Scouting The Opponent . . .
This will be the first meeting between the two teams this year, with Stanford winning all seven games against the Rainbow Wahine to own the all-time series. The Cardinal defeated Hawai'i last season 10-3 in the Rainbow Challenge in Honolulu. The Rainbow Wahine will host San Jose State on Saturday before meeting the Cardinal. Hawai'i (7-4, 1-1) is coming off wins over Pacific (5-2) and UC Davis (8-7). Senior utility Karin van Hoff scored five goals in three matches on the road last week, pushing her total to 17 scores on the season. Goalie Christa Tackaberry leads the team with 77 saves in 11 matches.
Last Time Out . . .
Stanford opened up its 2002 MPSF season on the road with two victories at UC Santa Barbara (9-2) and UCLA (6-4). Brenda Villa led the Cardinal attack with three goals and Margie Dingeldein and Ellen Estes added two each in the victory over the Tigers. In the third match-up between the top two teams on Sunday, Stanford once again came out with another win against No. 2 UCLA, 6-4. The Cardinal held on to a 3-2 halftime lead, but the Bruins tied the score in the third quarter. Julie Gardner gave Stanford the lead on her third goal of the game. Villa then scored two goals in the final quarter to seal the Cardinal victory.
Scoring Machine . . .
Sophomore Brenda Villa has been a true scoring threat this season, tallying 25 goals in 10 contests for Stanford. Villa, last season's Division I Player of the Year, is averaging 2.5 scores a game. Villa has scored four goals twice, against UC Davis and vs. Cal in the semifinal game of the Gaucho Invitational. She also netted the game-winning goal against UCLA on Feb. 24 in the third overtime period, and scored two goals in the final quarter of the Cardinal's win at UCLA last week.
Firing From The Start . . .
The Cardinal have opened their first 10 games with scoring on the mind. Stanford has outscored opponents 28-6 in the first quarter, and 93-35 overall. The Cardinal are also converting 30 percent of their 6-on-5's.
Players Of The Week . . .
For her efforts in the Gaucho Invitational, Brenda Villa was named MPSF Mikasa Player of the Week. This week teammate Julie Gardner earned the same honor after scoring three goals at UCLA to earn back-to-back POW honors for the Cardinal.
Bittersweet Ending . . .
The Stanford women's water polo team put together an amazing 27-game winning streak before falling in the NCAA Championship game when UCLA scored a goal with just over one minute remaining to claim the national title. It was the Cardinal's first and only loss of the year as it completed the best season in the history of the six-year program at 27-1. Stanford also became the first collegiate women's water polo team to go undefeated in the regular season at 25-0 and went on to claim its second straight MPSF Championship.
Tanner Tablet . . .
Stanford head coach John Tanner has made a splash in his first five years at the helm of the women's water polo program. An experienced and enthusiastic coach, Tanner took on the fledgling program and has turned it into a competitive force year-in and year-out. Last season he guided the Cardinal as it became the first-ever collegiate team to remain undefeated during the regular season, finishing 2001 with a 27-1 record. The NCAA runners-up had six All-Americans, including the Division I Player of the Year, Brenda Villa. Tanner was also named the MPSF Coach of the Year for the most successful season in program history.