Freshman Bret Bonanni made sure the fourth-ranked Stanford men's water polo team opened its season on a winning note Saturday.
Stanford (2-0) meets defending national champion USC on Sunday.
Bonanni scored the game-winner against the Gauchos with 1:55 remaining, giving him a strong debut.
Stanford's underclassmen came up big Saturday, as sophomore Alex Bowen scored six times and the Cardinal's defense, anchored by the goalkeeping trio of redshirt juniors Scott Platshon and Hunter Ploch along with redshirt freshman Clayton Evans, allowed just eight goals and made 17 saves.
Bonanni and Bowen each scored four goals against the Broncos.
Inky Ajanaku recorded 12 kills and a .647 hitting percentage to help No. 7 Stanford get past hoist St. Mary's, 18-25, 25-20, 25-21, 25-19, Saturday night in a nonconference match.
The Cardinal (8-2) opens Pac-12 play Wednesday against visiting California at 7 p.m.
Junior middle blocker Carly Wopat finished with 14 kills and eight blocks to go with two service aces. Freshman outside hitter Jordan Burgess finished one kill shy of a double-double as she tallied 14 digs.
Freshman setter Madi Bugg had 44 assists and 12 digs for her team-best fifth double-double of the year. Sophomore libero Kyle Gilbert reached the 20-dig plateau for the third time this season. Stanford finished with a .265 team hitting percentage, while SMC hit .220.
Former Menlo Park resident Jordan Shaw, the daughter of former Stanford volleyball coach Don Shaw, led the Gaels with 19 kills and 15 digs.
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