The second-ranked Stanford women's water polo team bounced back from its first setback of the year with a pair of convincing wins over No. 20 Santa Clara and Sonoma State on Thursday at the Avery Aquatic Center.
"We had hoped we would be able to attack in all phases of the game and throughout our roster," Cardinal coach John Tanner said. "We were a little single-minded at the start, but eventually got to that. We want to be able to score in all phases on offense and in the second game we had some great possessions."
Coming off a 7-6 double overtime loss to UCLA in the finals of the UC Irvine Invitational last weekend, the Cardinal (13-1) was eager to get back in the pool and get back in the win column.
Stanford started the doubleheader with a 17-4 victory over Santa Clara (7-5). The Cardinal received goals from 10 different players and all 16 available players saw action.
The patented pressure defense for the Cardinal led to early turnovers that became transition goals.
Stanford scored the first 12 goals in the contest, leading 3-0 after the first quarter and 6-0 at the half. Santa Clara finally cracked the scoreboard at the 4:02 mark of the third period.
Senior Kiley Neushul played a big part in the early success for the Cardinal as she either scored or assisted on each of the first four goals.
Junior Maggie Steffens turned several steals into easy transition looks for the offense.
Stanford came out guns blazing in the third quarter, scoring six goals-- all by different players -- in the first four minutes to extend the lead to double digits.
Neushul finished the game with three goals to lead all scorers. Five others had two goals for the Cardinal, including freshman Jordan Raney who became the ninth Stanford player with at least 10 goals on the year.
In the night contest, Stanford again received contributions from a variety of players in a 16-3 win over Sonoma State (2-11). The first nine Cardinal goals were scored by nine different individuals and 11 players tallied at least one goal in the outing.
It was another first quarter shutout for the vaunted Cardinal defense as they gained a 5-0 advantage. It was 6-0 before Sonoma State posted a pair of goals to cut the lead to four. Three more Stanford goals made it 9-2 at the midway break. The second half was all Stanford as it outscored the Seawolves, 7-1.
Sophomore Dani Jackovich notched a game-high three goals to give her five on the day. The Neushul sisters, Kiley and Jamie, each had two goals along with Raney, the reigning MPSF/Kap 7 Newcomer of the Week.
Senior Emily Dorst, a Menlo-Atherton grad, got the start in goal for Stanford and recorded six saves.
Thursday's contests marked the final two contests for Stanford before Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play. The first conference showdown is at No. 3 USC on March 8 at 6 p.m., to be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.
"It is exciting to get into the conference dual season where you have time to prepare for a week with a singular focus for each opponent," said Tanner.