STANFORD, Calif., November 2. IS the Cardinal the Notre Dame of collegiate water polo — overrated?
Well, it's too early to count out the defending national champs but there's definitely a chink in Stanford's armor.
In an all-important Mountain Pacific Sports Federation matchup that could have serious ramifications for December's NCAA Championships, California's No. 3-ranked Golden Bears (14-4, 4-2 MPSF) shocked the top-ranked Cardinal (18-3, 5-2 MPSF), 9-8, this afternoon in conference play at Stanford's Avery Aquatics Center.
The Golden Bears took a 1-0 lead into the second period but 40 seconds into the quarter, Stanford senior Jeff Nesmith scored on a 6-on-5 to tie the game at 1-1.
Each team added two more goals during the second period to give Cal a 4-3 lead at the half.
The Cardinal fought back in the second half, with sophomore Tony Azevedo — last season's NCAA Player of the Year and the nation's leading-scorer this year — tallying his third score of the game on a man-up goal with 34 seconds into the third quarter.
With the match tied at 4-4, Cal scored the next three goals before the Cardinal netted three more goals of its own to even the score out at 7-7.
Cal's Andrew Stoddard found the back of the net with 4:33 to go in the game before Will Quist scored at 2:57 to give the Bears a two-point margin. Stanford junior Mike Derse brought the Cardinal within one at 1:09, but the home team could not capitalize on any of its shots in the last minute and fell by the final score of 9-8.
Five Bears tallied goals in the win, with four scoring in double figures. Junior All-American Attila Banhidy notched two goals to give him a team-leading 37 on the year. The victory extends Cal's winning streak to a season-high five in a row.
Stanford's Azevedo scored four goals in the match, upping his season total to 71, a career-high season total, tying him for fifth in Stanford's all-time record books for single-season scoring.
Golden Bear senior keeper Russell Bernstein collected 12 saves in goal while Stanford's Nick Ellis grabbed four.
Cal return to action today (Nov. 3) as the UC Davis Aggies visit Berkeley for a 12:00 p.m. match at Spieker Aquatics Complex.
– Bill Bell
Team 1 2 3 4 Total
Stanford 0 3 4 1 8
California 1 3 3 2 9
Tony Azevedo 4, Mike Derse 1, Reed Gallogly 1, Jeff Guyman 1, Matt Moser 1.
Attila Banhidy 2, Greg Panawek 2, Will Quist 2, Andrew Stoddard 2, Vince Bevins 1.
Nick Ellis (Stan) 4;
Russell Bernstein (Cal) 12.
California coach (2nd/6:21)