STANFORD, Calif. - The top-ranked Stanford women's water polo team (20-1, 4-0 MPSF) returns to Avery Aquatic Center for its final home game of the 2009 season this Friday night, hosting the No. 3 UCLA Bruins (20-3, 5-0 MPSF) in a 6 p.m. clash. Friday's contest will also see the Cardinal honor its four graduating seniors, as Koree Blyleven, Kira Hillman, Lauren Silver and Heather West all play their final home game at Avery.
About The Opposition
UCLA (20-3) comes into Avery Aquatic Center riding a season-high 10-game winning streak, and has gone 15-1 since falling to Stanford in this season's previous meeting of the two schools. Stanford won that contest, 10-5, at the Stanford Invitational on Feb. 8.
The Bruins, with head coach Adam Krikorian at the helm in his 11th season, are the defending national champions and are led by the scoring of Tanya Gandy (62 goals), Katie Rulon (45 goals) and Anne Belden (33 goals). In the cage, Brittany Fullen saves and allowed just 106 goals in 19 games played.
In The National Rankings
The Cardinal kept the top spot in the national rankings for yet another week in April 1 CWPA Division I Poll following its perfect 4-0 road trip to Southern California.
Last Time Out
Stanford spent its Spring Break in Southern California last week, taking a road trip which saw them play four games over a five-day span. The trip began with a pair of contests in San Diego, before the team made its way north with a contest at Irvine then the finale on Saturday at Long Beach State.
The Cardinal opened up the trip against UC San Diego Tuesday, scoring an 11-5 victory behind a pair of goals from three players as well as strong defense and goalkeeping from sophomore Kim Hall.
The team stayed in San Diego for an MPSF battle with San Diego State, which saw the Cardinal get four goals from Melissa Seidemann, three from Lauren Silver and nine saves from Amber Oland in the cage to power the 11-6 victory over the Aztecs to stay perfect in MPSF play.
Silver and Seidemann would then flip-flop goal totals the next day, with Silver scoring four and Seidemann three in a 14-7 victory over UC Irvine.
After an off day on Friday, the Cardinal headed up to Long Beach where Silver scored a goal in her hometown and Oland was a wall in the cage, allowing just two goals in a 7-2 victory over the 49ers.
Silver Shines In Southern California
Long Beach native Lauren Silver showed that she is a Southern California girl at heart, scoring 10 goals in Stanford's perfect 4-0 road trip last week. Silver started the weekend with a pair of goals in the 11-5 victory over UC San Diego, then followed up with hat tricks of three and four goals, respectively, against San Diego State and UC Irvine. She closed the weekend with a tally against her hometown's team, Long Beach State.
The Buck Stops At Oland
Sophomore goalkeeper Amber Oland is getting locked in as the regular season winds down, as this past weekend showed. Taking over in the cage over the last three games of last week's road trip, Oland allowed just 15 goals and made 26 saves to anchor the Stanford defense. Her highs included 10 saves at UC Irvine, and just two goals allowed against Long Beach State.
Senior Sendoff Friday
Friday's contest will mark the final home game for Stanford's four seniors, Koree Blyleven, Kira Hillman, Lauren Silver and Heather West. Collectively, the quartet has led Stanford to national finishes of second and third place over the last four years, and this season will look to capture that elusive national championship.
Hillman Gets In On The Scoring
Senior Kira Hillman helped the cause in Southern California last week, posting a hat trick against UC Irvine as part of her five-goal effort over the weekend. The five goals last week increased Hillman's season tally to 20, making her one of seven 20-goal scorers for the Cardinal.
Talk About Depth
As Stanford is the conference's most prolific offense with 13.48 goals per game, it is no surprise to see the breadth of the Cardinal's offensive contribution. While Melissa Seidemann leads the team with 50 goals, seven Stanford players have already reached the 20-goal mark on the season, with more on the doorstep to the mark.
Among The MPSF Leaders
Melissa Seidemann's 2.38 goals per game average is sixth in the conference, while Lauren Silver is 12th among all MPSF players with 1.92 goals per game and Kelly Eaton is 15th with 1.70 goals per game. In the cage, Amber Oland is sixth in the conference with 7.08 saves per game and a 6.31 goals-against average, and Kim Hall's 3.77 goals-against average is second-best in the MPSF.
As a team, Stanford's 13.48 goals per game is tops in the conference and its 6.24 goals-against average is fourth in the MPSF.