Stanford men reach semifinal of invitational

The fourth-ranked Stanford men's water polo was all business Saturday at the UCI Invitational, advancing to Sunday's semifinal round with convincing victories over No. 14 UC Davis and No. 5 California.

The Cardinal (10-2) opened the day with an 18-7 win over the Aggies before pulling away for a 14-8 win over the Golden Bears in the late afternoon. Stanford will face No. 1 UCLA at 10:50 a.m. Sunday at UCI's Anteater Aquatic Complex.

Bret Bonanni and BJ Churnside scored four goals apiece in the win over California, while Conner Cleary added a hat trick. In the cage, Drew Holland went the distance and made six saves.

Forrest Watkins opened the game with a goal just 57 seconds in, and after California's Aleksa Saponjic evened it up Churnside and Nick Hoversten scored two straight in the period's final minutes to make it 3-1 Cardinal. The run got to 4-0 thanks to goals from Cleary and Churnside to open the second frame, and Cleary answered California's second by scoring three seconds before the half to make it 6-2.

Saponjic scored to open the second half, cutting the Cardinal lead to 6-3, but Stanford stamped out the threat for good by going on a 3-0 run behind goals Rudolph, Churnside and Bonanni to make it 9-3 with 3:19 left in the third period.

California managed to pull within four goals on two occasions but each time the Cardinal answered, essentially putting the game on ice with two straight goals from Bonanni and Churnside to make it 12-6 with 5:36 to play.

In the morning, Stanford took control early, scoring six goals in the opening period for a 6-1 lead. Alex Bowen, Churnside and Connor Stapleton opened the game with goals to give the Cardinal a 3-0 lead, and three more goals from Griffin Bolan, Adam Abdulhamid and Reid Chase sandwiched a score from Davis' Alex Bagdasarian.

Stapleton and Bonanni scored to open the second period, making it an 8-1 game, and after UC Davis scored its second Bolan and Jackson Kimbell scored to up the lead to 10-2.

The lead got all the way to 17-4 by the end of the third period, and Bolan finished the fourth period with the Cardinal's final goal.

Kimbell scored four times to lead the Cardinal while Stapleton, Bolan and Bowen netted three goals apiece. Abdulhamid scored twice and Bonanni, Chase and Churnside each added a goal.

In goal, Drew Holland started and played the opening period before Scott Platshon came on and handled the final three periods.

— Stanford Athletics


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