STANFORD, CA., Oct. 27. WHO'LL stop the Cardinal?
For the third time in less than a month, Stanford's top-ranked men's water polo team, led by freshman sensation Tony Azevado, thrashed No. 2-ranked and
double-defending NCAA Champ UCLA, this time 8-3, in a key Mountain Pacific Sports Federatiion match here today.
The Cardinal had defeated the Bruins in a non-conference game Sept. 30 at Westwood, then did it again two weeks ago during the finals of the NorCal
Tournament at the University of the Pacific in Stockton.
Today's match was the most significant, however, inasmuch as it counted in MPSF standings. The league's winner gets an automatic bye into the NCAA Final Four, scheduled for the first weekend in December at Stanford's Avery Aquatic Center.
The Cardinal is now 14-0 overall, 6-zip in league play. UCLA falls to 9-3 and 4-1.
Azevado, a driver who played for the United States Olympic team at Sydney, scored three goals to help pace Stanford's attack. The 6-4, 200-pound "rookie" has 46 goals for the season and is the nation's leading scorer.
Stanford got on the board early as Azevado rifled home a four-meter penalty shot just 54 seconds into the match. Bruin senior Alfonso Tucay tied the score 1-1 with 3:17 remaining in the opening period, but then UCLA yielded a pair of goals to Azevado and Onno Koelmann and the Cardinal led, 3-1 after one quarter.
At halftime, Stanford was on top, 5-2. Azevado's third goal of the match — coming with 2:47 remaining in the third quarter — gave the Cardinal an
insurmountable 8-2 advantage.
The Bruins were successful in holding Stanford's power-play unit scoreless in four chances, and sophomore driver Albert Garcia scored a pair of man-up goals to lead UCLA's offense.
Stanford goalie Nick Ellis saved 11 shots.
UCLA coach Adam Krikorian is no doubt pleased his Bruins won't have to face the Cardinal again this season unless they meet in the NCAA Championship
game — a distinct possibility as usually two MPSF teams make it into the Final Four.
Last spring UCLA's women's team lost to Stanford twice during the regular season, then again in a regional matchup a week before the NCAA Finals.
However, in the championship match at Stanford, UCLA won and thus claimed the inaugural NCAA Championship.
At 14-0 and seemingly en route to an undefeated season and perhaps the national championship, Stanford is in a position to emulate its undefeated and NCAA-winning teams of 1981 (31-0) and '86 (36-0) — both coached by
current headman Dante Dettamante, who's retiring after this season.
It was a tough Saturday for UCLA in Palo Alto as the Bruins' previously undefeated and fourth-ranked football team also lost, 38-28.
– Bill Bell
UCLA 1 1 1 0 – 3
Stanford 3 2 3 0 – 8
UCLA – Albert Garcia, 2; Alfonmso Tucay, 1.
Stanford – Tony Azevado, 3; Peter Hudnut, 2; Ono Koelmann, Nesmeth, Darrow.
Goalkeepers – UCLA, Brandon Brooks (8 GA, 6 Saves); Stanford – Nick Ellis (3
GA, 21 Saves)
Penalties – UCLA,, Garcia, Puffer
Penalty Shots – Stanford, 1-2 (Azevado, 1-2).
Extra-Man – UCLA 2-5, Stanford 0-4.