May 10, 2012
2012 Championship Notes
Watch The National Collegiate Championship Live on ncaa.com
STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford women's water polo (23-2), the top seed at this weekend's National Collegiate Championship, heads to San Diego aiming for its second straight NCAA title. The Cardinal takes on eighth-seeded Pomona-Pitzer (21-16) Friday, May 11 at 3:30 p.m. at San Diego State's Aztec Aquaplex.
All National Collegiate Championship contests are available to watch live at www.ncaa.com, or by clicking the watch link at the top of this story.
This weekend's National Collegiate Championship marks the third straight year in which Stanford will be the draw's top seed. The Cardinal aims to capture its second consecutive NCAA title, and third overall, as it begins tournament play Friday. The Cardinal won its first national title in 2002, and captured last year's title with a 9-5 win over California in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Stanford holds the distinction of being the only school to make the National Collegiate Championship every year since the NCAA first sponsored a women's water polo championship in 2001. Over its previous 11 appearances, the Cardinal has won two national titles (2002, 2011), finished second on five occasions (2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2010) and taken third four times (2004, 2006, 2008-09).
The Cardinal enters this year's tournament after earning one of the two at-large berths into the draw April 30. In it's most recent action, the Cardinal turned in a runner-up finish at the MPSF Championship at Avery Aquatic Center two weekends ago, having its 37-game home winning streak snapped with the 8-7 overtime loss to UCLA.
Pomona-Pitzer (21-16) punched its ticket to the National Collegiate Championship by winning the SCIAC title on April 29 with a 12-11 triple-overtime win over Redlands.
The Sagehens, riding an 11-game winning streak into Friday's contest, are led on offense by Alyssa Woodward (77 goals), Annie Oxborough-Yankus (58) and Sarah Westcott (44). In the cage, Sarah Tuggy has made 185 saves this season.
The Cardinal and Sagehens have met once before at the National Collegiate Championship. The teams met in the quarterfinals of the 2010 tournament, also held in San Diego, with Stanford claiming a 23-3 win on May 14, 2010.
A win Friday would advance Stanford to Saturday's semifinal round, where it would face the winner of Friday's Loyola Marymount-UC Irvine quarterfinal.
Through the MPSF statistical rankings of April 30, Stanford boasts seven players in the top-25 among the conference leaders. Kiley Neushul ranks third with 2.20 goals per game while fellow rookie Ashley Grossman is tied for sixth at 1.96 goals per game. Pallavi Menon is 13th with 1.60 goals a game, while Alyssa Lo (1.28 - 19th), Kaley Dodson (1.16 - 20th), Cassie Churnside (1.13 - 21st) and Kaitlyn Lo (1.08 - T-25th) are also in the group.
On the defensive side of things, goalie Kate Baldoni leads the MPSF with a 4.62 goals-against average and is second with 10.11 saves per game.In the team rankings, Stanford leads the loop in both offense and defense, scoring 12.28 goals per game while allowing just 4.72 a game.