May 8, 2002
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It's Tourney Time . . .
The No. 2 Stanford women's water polo team received the at-large tournament berth to the 2002 National Collegiate Women's Water Polo Championship this weekend at the McDonald Swim Stadium in Los Angeles. The Cardinal finished the regular season at 21-2 (10-1 MPSF) and is headed to the NCAA Championships for the second consecutive season. Stanford will be joined by UCLA, Michigan and Loyola Marymount, who all received automatic selections to participate in the tournament.
Tournament Scoop . . .
This is the second annual NCAA Women's Water Polo Championship that will feature a four-team, single-elimination tournament (four games), with a loser's bracket to determine places three and four. Stanford (21-2) will face Michigan (25-11) in the first game of the championship on May 11 at 3:30 p.m., followed by UCLA (21-3) and Loyola Marymount (20-7) in the second game at 5 p.m. On May 12 the consolation game begins at 3:30 p.m., followed by the championship at 5 p.m.
The Rankings . . .
In the final regular season Women's Water Polo Coaches Association Collegiate Top 20 Poll released on May 8, Stanford stays at No. 2 after falling to UCLA in the MPSF Tournament Championship game. The Bruins hold the top spot, followed by No. 3 USC, Long Beach State and California who round out the top-five. LMU is tied at No. 7, while Michigan stands at No. 12.
Scouting Michigan . . .
The Wolverines, 25-11 in its second varsity season, earned its first NCAA berth by winning the Eastern Championship this past weekend in Princeton, N.J. The No. 12-ranked Wolverines defeated No. 13 Hartwick 7-6 in double overtime Sunday (April 28) in the championship game. Jen Crisman scored with 31 seconds left in the first sudden-death period to vault the Wolverines past Hartwick at Princeton's DeNunzio Pool. Players Julie Nisbet, Erin Brown and Betsey Armstrong were selected to the Collegiate Water Polo Association's All-Southern Division First Team. Nisbet leads Michigan with 46 goals, followed by Casey Kerney's 42 and Brown with 41 scores. Armstrong has a 6.38 goal against average for the Wolverines. Michigan is coached by Amber Drury-Pinto and assisted by Bernice Orwig.
Here's The Scenario . . .
Should the Cardinal defeat Michigan on Saturday, Stanford will face the winner of the UCLA and Loyola Marymount game for the NCAA title on Sunday at 5 p.m. If Stanford loses to the Wolverines, they will play in the third place game on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. The top-ranked Bruins (21-3) defeated the Cardinal 11-7 in the title game of the MPSF Tournament to earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. Jessica Lopez led UCLA with three goals. Senior Kelly Heuchan, junior Robin Beauregard and freshman Amber Stachowski all earned First Team All-MPSF Tournament accolades, while junior Jaime Hipp and sophomores Natalie Golda and Thalia Muro were selected to the second team. Heuchan and Golda lead UCLA with 33 goals apiece, while Beauregard has tallied 28 scores. Hipp has 179 saves for the Bruins in goal. UCLA is coached by Adam Krikorian, who is in his fourth season at the helm of the women's program. No. 7 Loyola Marymount (20-7) defended their Western Water Polo Association Title last Sunday with a 8-4 win over No. 9 UC San Diego and received their second-straight automatic bid the NCAA Final Four. Freshman driver Jessica Conner led the Lions in scoring in the championship game with three goals. LMU's all-time leading goalie, Devon Courtney, was named the WWPA Most Valuable Player. Ludy Windes and Teresa Guidi have totaled 49 and 33 goals, respectively, for the Lions. Courtney has collected 210 saves in goal for LMU. John Loughran is in his fifth year as head coach of the Lion program.
It Could Happen Again . . .
If both UCLA and Stanford advance to Sunday's title game, it would bring up the fifth meeting between the two teams and a rematch of last year's first-ever championship match. The Bruins took the title last year, but the Cardinal came back this year to defeat UCLA in the first place games of both the Stanford and Gaucho Invitationals. Stanford defeated the Bruins 9-4 and followed with a 6-5 overtime win in Santa Barbara. The Cardinal went on to beat UCLA in Los Angeles in a MPSF match 6-4, but the Bruins downed the Cardinal in the championship match of the MPSF Tournament two weeks ago 11-7.
MPSF Tournament . . .
In its quest to defend its tournament title, the Stanford women's water polo team fell 11-7 in the MPSF championship game to UCLA at the McDonald's Swim Stadium. Jessica Lopez scored three goals to lead the Bruins, while the Cardinal got two goals each from Margie Dingeldein, Jeanine Jackson and Ellen Estes. Jackie Frank and Jaime Hipp each registered four saves in goal for their teams. Stanford cruised past Hawai'i 14-4 behind four goals from Dingeldein in the team's opening game. The Cardinal then used two scores from Dingeldein, Estes, Julie Gardner and Wendy Watkins to record a 10-4 victory over Long Beach State in the semifinal game. Brenda Villa and Frank were named to the 2002 MPSF Championship All-Tournament First Team, while teammates Estes and Dingeldein earned Second Team All-Tournament accolades.
Recaping The Regular Season . . .
Before the conference tournament, Stanford concluded the regular season with an overall mark of 19-1 including a 13-game winning streak. The Cardinal opened up the season winning both the Stanford and Gaucho Invitationals. Stanford won its next five MPSF contests, before USC handed the Cardinal their first loss of the season in Los Angeles (7-6). The team then went on to win their next six games to finish out the conference season as the No. 1 seed in the MPSF Tournament.
Scoring Machine . . .
Sophomore Brenda Villa has been a true scoring threat this season, tallying 55 goals in 23 contests for Stanford. Villa, last season's Division I Player of the Year, is averaging 2.4 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. Villa has scored in 21 of Stanford's 23 contests and has 19 multiple games.
Sharing The Offense . . .
Stanford's attack has been well-round all season with five athletes recording three or more goals in a game. Brenda Villa has 13 contests with three or more goals, while Wendy Watkins and Margie Dingeldein each have three and Ellen Estes and Julie Gardner have two games.
Between The Posts . . .
Junior goalkeeper Jackie Frank has been consistent in goal for the Cardinal all season. Frank has tallied 161 saves thus far and allowed only 87 opponent scores. She has also held the opposition on 6-on-5's to 28-105 (26%).
Firing From The Start . . .
The Cardinal have opened all their 23 games with scoring on the mind. Stanford has outscored opponents 76-16 in the first quarter, and 243-91 overall. The Cardinal are also converting 39 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. Ellen Estes earned the honor three weeks ago, netting four goals against San Jose State on April 20.
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.