Bret Bonanni scored five goals for the second consecutive game and the junior combined with Alex Bowen to score Stanford's four in the final quarter, as the No. 2 Stanford men's water polo team overcame a deficit to beat host No. 5 California, 11-9, in the Big Splash in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match on Saturday morning.
The Cardinal (20-3, 6-1 MPSF) improved to 9-7 since the Steve Heaston Trophy was established for the winner of the Big Splash series.
More importantly, the victory gave Stanford the tie-breaker for the season, as the two schools had split the year's two previous meetings.
Cal led, 8-7, into the final quarter. That's when Bowen and Bonanni went to work. Bowen scored his first goal of the game with 7:08 left and added his second less than a minute later.
Bonanni followed with his final two of the game to give the Cardinal its first two-goal advantage.
The game featured six ties and four lead changes. Cal was in control for much of the opening half and never trailed.
Stanford travels to Santa Clara for a nonconference match on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Erica McCall poured in 18 points to lead four players in double figures as Stanford powered past UC San Diego, 74-51, on Saturday afternoon in an exhibition game at Maples Pavilion.
Taylor Greenfield scored 14 of her 16 points in the second half while Amber Orrange notched a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds for Stanford, which shot 42.4 percent in the second stanza after connecting at just 29.6 percent over the first 20 minutes.
Kaylee Johnson also grabbed 12 boards, as Stanford owned a 46-37 edge on the glass. The Cardinal frontcourt was solid throughout the game, tallying 12 blocks, five coming from McCall.
Stanford repeatedly cashed in from the charity stripe, converting 24-29 overall and 20-25 during the first half. Meanwhile, UC San Diego was just 4-7 from the foul line.
UC San Diego, which finished 16-11 overall and 13-9 in California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) play, was led by Pinewood School grad Miranda Seto, who finished with a game-high 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting and 4-5 from long distance.
The game brought together Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer and her sister, Heidi, head coach at UCSD.
No. 4 Stanford was unable to overcome an early deficit Saturday, falling to Liberty, 1-0, in the NorPac tournament championship at Pacific.
The loss snapped the Cardinal's (18-2) program-best 12-game winning-streak and marked the second consecutive year Stanford fell to Liberty (13-7) in the conference tournament finale.
Stanford had secured its spot in the NCAA tournament with a program-best regular season, accumulating a 17-1 record with a 5-1 mark against the top 20 and 3-0 clip against the top 15.
The Cardinal played well and controlled a majority of the possession throughout the game, generating seven shots and three penalty corners.
Stanford's defense limited Liberty's opportunities in front of the goal. Dulcie Davies registered six saves. Davies was particularly good in the second half when she made four saves to help keep Stanford within striking distance.
Sarah Helgeson, Maddie Secco and Shannon Herold were named to the NorPac all-tournament Team. Stanford will find out its NCAA Tournament fate Sunday at 7 p.m. (PT) during the selection show on NCAA.com.
Stanford dropped its home opener, 21-13, to No. 8 Northwestern in Burnham Pavilion Saturday.
Starting at 165 pounds, Northwestern took a 3-0 lead in the dual as fifth-ranked Pierce Harger posted an 8-4 decision over No. 16 Jim Wilson. The Cardinal evened the dual at 174 pounds as redshirt freshman Keaton Subjeck turned in a 7-4 decision over Northwestern's Ben Sullivan. He registered three takedowns and an escape in the win.
Redshirt freshman Garet Krohn gave Stanford the lead with a 4-2 decision over Mitch Sliga at 184 pounds. The Wildcats won the next two bouts.
Making his season debut, 15th-ranked Evan Silver cut Northwestern's lead to 11-10 with an exciting 10-2 major decision at 125 pounds. He defeated Garrison White with three takedowns, an escape and three near fall points. He registered his final takedown and three near fall points in the final seconds of the dual.
Redshirt freshman Connor Schram upset No. 19 Dominick Malone, 3-1, in sudden victory at 133 pounds to give Stanford a 13-11 lead in the dual. Scoreless going into the second period, Schram chose to start in the down position and quickly registered an escape. Malone countered in the third to force extra time, where Schram secured the winning takedown.
Northwestern took the lead for good at 141 pounds as Jameson Oster registered an 11-6 decision over true freshman Isaiah Locsin. Redshirt senior Garrett Schaner then dropped a 17-8 major decision to top-ranked and defending NCAA champion Jason Tsirtsis at 149 pounds.
Stanford hosts North Carolina next Saturday at noon. The dual will be held outside of Stanford Stadium at fan fest prior to the Stanford football game versus Utah. Admission is free.