BJ Churnside scored two of his three goals in the final four minutes to help the Stanford men's water polo team down host Long Beach State, 9-8, in the championship final of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament Sunday.
Senior Alex Bowen also scored three times as the second-ranked Cardinal (25-3) clinched an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament, which begins Dec. 6 in La Jolla. Stanford earned the No. 2 overall seed.
UCLA, the regular-season champion, came back to beat USC, 10-5, in the third-place contest, also received a bid into the Final Four and was awarded the No. 1 overall seed.
The Bruins will meet the winner of a play-in match between UC San Diego and Brown (27-6).
USC, who received the second at-large bid and was seeded third, plays No. 6 Whittier (23-12) in a play-in game Saturday. Gunn grad Gavin Kerr plays for the Poets.
The Cardinal meets the winner of that match on Dec. 6 at about 3:15 p.m. at Canyonview Pool in La Jolla.
Long Beach State (22-7), which was left out of the national tournament, dropped two games to Stanford by a combined total of three goals this season and split two matches with the Bruins.
The 49ers beat UC San Diego (15-9) three times during the regular season and also beat Whittier in their only meeting.
The Trojans (22-6) are the six-time defending national champions and have reached the NCAA title game the past nine years.
Stanford won its first MPSF tournament title in 10 years and fifth overall. The Cardinal is looking for its first NCAA title in 12 years.
Stanford and Long Beach State played in a contest that featured four lead changes and six ties. The 49ers took an 8-7 lead with 4:15 left to play.
Churnside scored the tying goal 30 seconds later and then got the chance to score the go-ahead goal when Stanford earned an exclusion with 32 seconds remaining. The junior driver scored with three seconds remaining in the power play.
Nick Hoversten, Bret Bonanni and Adam Addulhamid also scored for the Cardinal. Drew Holland recorded 16 saves in the goal.
Eight Cardinal wrestlers finished among the top six of their respective decisions, led by redshirt freshman Keaton Subjeck, who was second at 174 pounds, at the Keystone Classic on Sunday at the Palestra in Philadelphia.
Subjeck (10-4 overall) tallied three decisions by 3-2 scores to reach the finals, where he dropped a 17-11 decision to Indiana's Nathan Jackson.
Stanford redshirt sophomore Jim Wilson (10-3) finished third at 165 pounds. He went 4-1 in the tournament, including his fastest fall of the season at 0:56 over Rider's Andrew Reca.
Redshirt freshman heavyweight Nathan Butler also captured third in the tournament, marking the second straight weekend he has accomplished that feat. Butler registered a 4-1 record Sunday to move to 11-3 this season.
Redshirt sophomore heavyweight Josh Marchok made his season debut, going 4-2 and placing fifth. He was a win away from reaching the third-place match, but fell, 3-2, to Butler.
Marchok recorded a fall in 6:29 over Eastern Michigan's Gage Hutchinson in the fifth-place match.
Stanford had four wrestlers finish sixth: freshman 125-pounder Mason Pengilly, redshirt sophomore 157-pounder Peter Galli, junior 174-pounder Dylan Morris and redshirt freshman 184-pounder Garet Krohn.
Stanford will next be in action on Sunday, Dec. 21 at the Reno Tournament of Champions