By Bill Bell
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 29. EVEN General Maximo would have been impressed.
The acclaimed ancient Roman warrior likely would have looked favorably upon Stanford's powerful Cardinal men's water polo team here today, as the nation's top-ranked Division I team had no trouble stopping No. 2 USC, 10-5.
The match was played before an overflow crowd of some 1000-plus fans on a glorious sun-baked afternoon in the McDonald's Olympic Pool diving well.
Stanford is now 3-0 overall and 2-0 in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play. The MPSF winner gains an automatic berth into the NCAA Final Four, which will be held the first weekend of December at Palo Alto.
USC is now 3-1 overall and in MPSF play.
Stanford erupted for five goals in the second quarter against the Trojans as Cardinals Peter Hudnut and Jess Nesmith each cored a pair. The visitors led 7-2 at halftime, and upped their lead to 10-3 after three quarters thanks to goals by Tony Azevedo, Pasi Dutton and Brian Darrow.
The Trojans came back to win the last quarter, 2-zip, but the issue had long since been decided.
Azevedo, with his three goals, now leads the Cardinal with 12. The talented freshman was a red-shirt last season after having played on the U.S. National Team that competed in the Sydney Olympics. The youngest member of that squad, Azevedo was chosen by journalists there as a member of the all-tournament team.
A four-time all-CIF star at Long Beach Wilson High, where he helped lead his team to four-consecutive CIF Championships, Azevedo is the most heralded and heavily recruited rookie ever to play for the Cardinal. At 6-1, 195 pounds, he's a devastating scorer as well as great defender.
He was also a member of this year's USA team that competed at the World Championships last July in Fukuoka, and brings a wealth of international
experience to a team that already has a number of established veterans — including a pair of his old Wilson teammates, Nesmeth and Jaison Robinson.
The Cardinal travels to Westwood today to face No. 3 ranked and double-defending champion UCLA.
#3 UCLA Knocks Off Pacific, 15-5
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 29. NO. 3-ranked UCLA tuned up for its "Battle of the Titans" against No. 1 Stanford on Sunday in Westwood by routing the University of the Pacific, 15-5, in a key MPSF match at the Sunset Canyon Rec Center Pool.
UCLA is now 4-0 overall and 2-0 in loop play.
UCLA was led by senior two-meter man Alfonso Tucay, who recorded a hat trick while helping the Bruins to an easy victory.
UCLA jumped on UOP early, scoring on their first four possessions to take control of the match. Freshman driver Brett Orsmby scored twice in the opening period to raise his team-high goal total to 10.
The Bruins led 5-2 after one quarter and then 8-2 at the half.
"We looked good on ouyr counterattack today," said UCLA coach Adam Krikorian. "If we can play at our top level of intensity tomorrow, we can give Stanford a tough game."
UCLA lost six seniors from its championship squad of last season but Krikorian says that won't be a factor against Stanford.
"You have to play the hard that's dealt you," he adds.
"We had a great run with our seniors but now it's time to rebuild and go forward."