April 10, 2002
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Cardinal Update . . .
Stanford gears up for its final home match of the season when they host rival Cal in the Big Splash on Friday night at 7 p.m. at the Avery Aquatic Center. The Cardinal will then travel to UC Davis on Sunday to take on the Aggies at 1 p.m. Stanford, now 16-1 overall and 8-1 in the MPSF, is coming off three big home conference wins against San Diego State (12-4), Long Beach State (11-5) and UC Irvine (13-3).
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. The Cardinal held the No. 1 spot until USC upset Stanford 7-6 on March 30. In the latest Water Polo Coaches Association Top 20 Poll, the Trojans stand at No. 1, followed by Stanford, UCLA, California and Long Beach State.
Scouting The Opponents . . .
The Cal Bears stand at 14-6, 7-2 in the conference, heading into their match-up with the Cardinal. Cal has won 10 of its last 11 games and is led by Ericka Lorenz's 31 goals on the season. Goalkeeper Lauren Dennis has recorded 109 saves for the Bears. This will mark the second meeting between the rivals, with the first contest won by Stanford, 9-4, at the Gaucho Invitational. Davis is 18-10 after losing to LMU 7-6 and beating San Diego 7-4 last weekend. The Aggies beat host Hawaii 6-4 two weeks ago to take second place at the Rainbow Classic.
Last Time Out . . .
Stanford outscored San Diego State 5-0 in the second half en route to an easy 12-4 victory last Friday night. Margie Dingeldein and Brenda Villa led the Cardinal with three goals apiece. Ellen Estes scored three goals in Stanford's 11-5 win over Long Beach State on Sunday morning. Dingeldein, Villa and Jeanine Jackson each added two goals against the 49ers. Stanford won its third consecutive MPSF game with a 13-3 victory over Irvine. Villa led the Cardinal with three goals, followed by two scores each from Julie Gardner, Kelty Luber and Jackson.
Scoring Machine . . .
Sophomore Brenda Villa has been a true scoring threat this season, tallying 44 goals in 17 contests for Stanford. Villa, last season's Division I Player of the Year, is averaging 2.59 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 on March 3rd.
Firing From The Start . . .
The Cardinal have opened their first 17 games with scoring on the mind. Stanford has outscored opponents 57-12 in the first quarter, and 178-60 overall. The Cardinal are also converting 31 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 on Feb. 24. The following 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.