Stanford men's water polo
hosts nation's top 12
teams in NorCal tourney
The top 12 men's water polo teams in the nation will be in action at Avery Aquatic Center this weekend as Stanford hosts the annual NorCal Invitational Saturday and Sunday.
Joining the Cardinal (No. 4 in the CWPA Varsity Top 20 poll) at this weekend's tournament are No. 1 USC, No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 California, No. 5 UC Santa Barbara, No. 6 UC Irvine, No. 7 Pacific, No. 8 Pepperdine, No. 9 Long Beach State, No. 10 Loyola Marymount, No. 11 UC San Diego (11), No. 12 UC Davis, No. 14 Santa Clara, No. 16 Air Force, No. 19 Concordia (19) and Pomona-Pitzer.
"Our team is eagerly looking forward to the challenges of the upcoming season," said Stanford head coach John Vargas.
In 2012 the Cardinal returns All-Americans Alex Bowen (53 goals in 2011) and Forrest Watkins (42 goals), in addition to senior leaders Paul Rudolph (25 goals) from Sacred Heart Prep and Travis Noll (16 goals).
Admission will be charged for this weekend's tournament at Avery Aquatic Center. The event is free for both Stanford students with a valid school ID and children six years of age and under. All seating will be general admission throughout the weekend.
Stanford opens tournament play Saturday against Santa Clara in the Avery Pool at 10:50 a.m. The Cardinal is matched up with the Broncos along with UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis in Bracket D.
The Cardinal hosts the NorCal Invitational every third year in a rotation that includes California and Pacific. Stanford last hosted the event in 2009, when it swept California and USC on the second day to capture the tournament crown.
Heading into this season, NCAA.com released it's "Players To Watch" list, which included Cardinal standouts Bowen and Watkins.
Bowen, last year's MPSF Newcomer of the Year and an ACWPC first-team All-American, led the Cardinal with 53 goals as a utility in 2011. Watkins, a redshirt junior two-meter, tied for second on the team in 2011 with 42 goals, earning nods to the ACWPC All-America Second Team as well as to the All-MPSF First Team.
Nearly every team entered has at least one local player on its roster.
Stanford features junior goalie Scott Platshon (Menlo School), senior Alex Avery (Menlo), redshirt freshman Robert Dunlevie (Sacred Heart Prep), senior Paul Rudolph (SHP) and freshman Adam Warmoth (Los Altos).
UCLA (8-0) has junior David Culpan (SHP), who scored two goals in a 20-3 win over Princeton on Sunday in the final game of the Princeton Invitational.
Princeton (3-2) has junior goalie Ben Dearborn (SHP), who had six saves against the Bruins. Freshman Alex Gow (Menlo-Atherton) is sharing time in the goal and started in a 13-7 win over Harvard, where he had six saves. The Tigers also have senior Tim Wenzlau (Palo Alto), who scored four goals against Harvard; junior Connor Still (SHP), junior Alex Rafter (Portola Valley) and sophomore Kevin Zhang (Gunn).
USC (4-0), the defending NorCal champion, features the brother duo of redshirt senior goalie Will Simon (Palo Alto) and freshman Peter Simon (St. Francis).
California (5-0), which won five matches at the Princeton Invitational (but did not face UCLA), has redshirt freshman Colin Mulcahy (Los Altos), redshirt freshman Thomas Agramonte (St. Francis), who scored seven goals in the five matches; freshman Mitchell Hamilton (Los Altos Hills/Bellarmine Prep) and junior Miguel Martin de Bustamante (St. Francis).
Pomona-Pitzer has sophomore Andrew Savage (SHP) and senior Mark Hudnall (Menlo); Loyola Marymount has redshirt sophomore Peter Olson (Los Altos Hills/St. Francis); UC Irvine includes redshirt freshman Graham McClelland (Menlo-Atherton); UC Davis has senior Kevin Meisel (SHP); UC Santa Barbara has freshman Mark Garner (Los Altos Hills/St. Francis) plus Evan Dellinger (St. Francis) and is coached by Stanford grad Wolf Wigo; and Long Beach State has freshman Patrick Goodenough (St. Francis).
Stanford earned an exciting overtime victory on Wednesday night in a home opener at Cagan Stadium as Austin Meyer scored just 1:02 into the extra period to defeat San Jose State, 2-1, and move Stanford to 3-2-0 on the season.
The goal was the first in Meyer's career and could not have come at a better time. He struck the game-winner from about 25 yards and tucked into the far upper corner.
After a scoreless first half, Stanford scored its first goal in the 50th minute. Adam Jahn finished his third goal on the season with a nice feed from Dersu Abolfathi.
Next up for the Cardinal is visiting Santa Clara on Sunday night at 7 p.m. Stanford will look to avenge a 1-0 loss from a year ago in the annual game as part of the Bay Area Classic.
Senior captain Mariah Nogueira headed in two goals to lead fifth-ranked Stanford to a 6-0 victory over visiting No. 23 Georgetown, allowing the Cardinal to win the four-team Stanford Nike Invitational on Sunday and extend its home unbeaten streak to 58.
Stanford (4-1-1) resumes play on the road against No. 20 San Diego State (7-0) on Friday at 5 p.m. in the Santa Clara Classic and expects to have Chioma Ubogagu available. The sophomore forward missed Stanford's first six matches while in Japan playing for the victorious United States at the FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup, which concluded Saturday with a 1-0 U.S. victory over Germany.
Nationally No. 7 Stanford will compete in the Pac-12/WCC Challenge. The Cardinal plays host to San Francisco on Friday in Maples Pavilion and then travels to Moraga on Saturday to take on St. Mary's. Both matches are slated for 7 p.m.
Stanford opens Pac-12 play next week, welcoming Bay Area rival California on Wednesday. The Cardinal then will travel to Salt Lake City to face Utah on Sept. 21. Both matches will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.
The Cardinal claimed the 2012 Stanford Invitational championship last weekend by going 3-0. Stanford swept Santa Clara and Pacific, and defeated Loyola (Chicago) in four sets. Junior Carly Wopat led the team offensively, hitting .513 and averaging 4.92 points, 3.67 kills and 1.50 blocks per set. She was named the tournament's MVP, while sophomore libero Kyle Gilbert and freshman setter Madi Bugg were selected to the all-tournament team.