PALO ALTO, CA – The No. 3 Stanford men’s water polo team fell to top-ranked Pepperdine at deGuerre Pool in a rematch of the Cardinal’s 4-2 upset of the previously unbeaten Waves.
Pepperdine senior two-meter man Alan Hermann scored the game-winning goal with only six seconds to play. With the goal, the Waves (19-1, 7-0 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) secured a 9-8 victory over the Cardinal (13-5, 4-2) and clinched at least a tie for the MPSF title.
Stanford junior defenseman Layne Beaubien tied the match for the fourth time with one second remaining in the third quarter when his left-handed shot sailed past Waves goalie Merrill Moses, evening the score 7-7. Stanford then seized an 8-7 lead with 2:45 to play in the fourth on a trademark garbage goal by sophomore fielder Andy Walburger.But with less than a minute remaining in regulation, the Waves gained a 6-on-5 power-play advantage. Both teams converged in front of the Cardinal goal, and with 35 seconds to go, Pepperdine’s Todd King netted a shot to tie the match 8-8 and set the stage for Hermann’s dramatic game-winner.
“I thought we held our own,” said Stanford head coach Dante Dettamanti. “We are capable of beating the best teams.”
Senior holeman Nathan Osborn agreed. “Once again we proved we’re as tough as them in the water,” Osborn said.
Saturday the Cardinal defeated No. 5 UCLA, the defending NCAA champions, 8-7 at deGuerre in its third win in as many tries against the Bruins this season. Sophomore driver Brian Heifferon sparked a four-goal Cardinal scoring burst on a goal with 5:45 remaining in the first.
The Cardinal then held on despite a Bruin counterattack that culminated in three consecutive fourth-quarter goals.
“UCLA, to their credit, bounced back,” Dettamanti said. But “we had the lead the whole game, and we were never in” any serious danger, Dettamanti said.
The weekend split leaves the Cardinal in third place in the MPSF, 2 1/2 games behind the Waves and 1 1/2 back of No. 4 California (16-5, 6-1).