The No. 11-ranked Cardinal (4-1) will host the Stanford Nike Invitational, Friday through Sunday, at Smith Family Stadium. Stanford will play five games over the weekend, as it hosts Illinois (Friday at 2:30 p.m.), UC Riverside (Friday at 4:45 p.m.), Nevada (Saturday at 11:15 a.m.), Sacramento State (Saturday at 1:30 p.m.) and Fresno State (Sunday at 3:45 p.m.). Stanford's Alissa Haber and Ashley Hansen are among the 50 players named to the initial USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year watch list. The 50 picks represent 35 different schools and 14 different conferences. Haber and Hansen were two of the 12 selections from the Pac-10. Last season, Haber and senior Missy Penna were both among the 50 preseason picks as well. Penna joined Hansen on the top 25 list last year, and Penna went on to be one of the 10 finalists. Stanford dropped on spot in both the USA Today/NFCA poll and the ESPN.com/USA Softball top-25, coming in at No. 11 and No. 13, respectively. The Cardinal has appeared in every regular-season poll for more than a decade. Six of the eight Pac-10 schools appeared in both polls, with as many as four appearing in the top-10.
Nationally No. 2-ranked Stanford (6-1, 2-1 Pac-10) will host arch rival, No. 4-ranked California (5-1, 2-1 Pac-10) on Saturday at the Avery Aquatics Center at 1 p.m., closing out the dual-meet season prior to embarking on the team's 29th consecutive Pac-10 Conference title. The Cardinal features 17 times ranked among the national top-15, led by backstroker Eugene Godsoe, and distance swimmer Chad La Tourette. Stanford will have to contend with one of the nation's fastest sprinters in Cal's Nathan Adrian, who has the nation's fastest 50 free time, second-best 100 time and ninth-fastest 100 butterfly time. Adrian set American records in the 50- and 100-meter frees for short course at the Duel in the Pool in December, the same meet La Tourette set the U.S. record in the 800 freestyle. Godsoe, a two-time national swimmer of the week this season, has the nation's fastest 100 back time of 46.67. La Tourette, one of four Cardinal distance swimmers ranked, has the sixth-fastest 500 free (4:20.38) and 1,000-free (9:06.11) times, as well as the third-fastest 1,650-yard time. Joining the Cardinal sophomore over the long haul is David Mosko, Michael Zoldos and Trevor Scheid, all of whom boast a top-20 national time. In the breaststroke, John Criste (8th) and Curtis Lovelace (16th) will have to contend with Cal All-American Nolan Koon and Slovenian Olympian Damir Dugonjic, who rank third and 10th, respectively in the 100-yard event. In diving, Cardinal All-American Brent Eichenseer has been the team's top performer while senior All-American Dwight Dumais battles a shoulder injury that has kept him out since late January.
Women's water polo
Top-ranked Stanford (8-0) opens Mountain Pacific Sports Federation action on Stanford with a noon at No. 10 San Jose State (7-5). It is the Cardinal's first road game in three weeks, although the team still hasn't had to leave the greater Bay Area over its first nine games of the season. The Cardinal upped its season-opening winning streak to eight games with a 17-6 victory over Sonoma State last Saturday at Avery Aquatic Center. San Jose State (7-5, 0-1 MPSF) enters Saturday's contest after having dropped its MPSF opener, 10-5, to California last Saturday. The Spartans are led by the scoring of Sacred Heart Prep grad Adriana Vogt (17 goals). Stanford and SJS already have met once this season, with Stanford capturing a 15-6 victory on the second day of the Stanford Invitational.-- compiled by Rick Eymer