April 17, 2002
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Cardinal Update . . .
Stanford travels to San Jose State for its final regular season game this Saturday. The Cardinal will battle the Spartans at the Aquatics Center beginning at noon. Stanford has won five straight contests, holding an overall record of 18-1 and 9-1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. San Jose State is 17-9 overall and 5-5 in conference play.
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 Bruins defeated the Trojans to regain the top spot last week. Stanford and USC are tied for second, while California and Long Beach State round out the top-five teams.
Scouting The Opponent . . .
The San Jose State Spartans are coming off a 9-4 loss at California last Sunday. San Jose won three consecutive games prior to their loss to the Golden Bears. The Spartans defeated UC San Diego (8-6), CS Hayward (12-1) and UC Irvine (9-7). Christine Welsh leads the San Jose State offensive attack with 41 goals on the year. The No. 7 Spartans stand at 17-9 overall and 5-5 in the MPSF.
Last Time Out . . .
Cal scored in the first 30 seconds of the game, but Stanford netted six unanswered goals en route to a 7-4 Cardinal win over the No. 4 Golden Bears at the Avery Aquatic Center last Friday night. Senior Margie Dingeldein highlighted the evening by scoring four goals in her final home game as a Cardinal. Jackie Frank was outstanding in goal for Stanford, finishing with 10 saves. On Sunday Stanford took a break from the MPSF and traveled up to UC Davis. The Cardinal jumped out to a 10-0 halftime lead en route to an easy 14-3 non-conference victory over the Aggies. Lauren Faust, Jeanine Jackson, Brenda Villa and Wendy Watkins each finished with two goals apiece to lead Stanford.
Scoring Machine . . .
Sophomore Brenda Villa has been a true scoring threat this season, tallying 48 goals in 19 contests for Stanford. Villa, last season's Division I Player of the Year, is averaging 2.53 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 all their 19 games with scoring on the mind. Stanford has outscored opponents 63-13 in the first quarter, and 199-67 overall. The Cardinal are also converting 33 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.