Julia Hermann made 28 saves, Kat Klass had hat tricks in both games and the top-ranked Stanford women's water polo team turned suffocating fourth-quarter defense into a pair of wins Saturday, the first day of the Stanford Invitational.
Playing in its home pool for the first time this year, the Cardinal beat No. 7 Michigan in the morning, 12-7, and coasted past No. 8 San Jose State in the afternoon, 17-8.
The Cardinal (6-0) returns to action Sunday with an 8 a.m. against No. 15 Loyola Marymount. Stanford clinched Bracket 'A' with Saturday's victories and will play the winner between California and Pacific in the Stanford Invite title match at 2:45 p.m.
Stanford was up two through three quarters against Michigan before outscoring the Wolverines 3-0 in the fourth. Against San Jose State, the Cardinal was up four after 24 minutes and won going away after pouring in five in the final frame without surrendering a score.
The Cardinal also took advantage of its 6-on-5 chances, converting on 12-of-17 such situations on Saturday.
Against the Wolverines, Klass scored her third goal in a 6-on-5 situation with 6:37 remaining in the contest. The ball cycled around through Jamie Neushul and Jordan Raney before Klass finished it.
Sophia Monaghan converted another power play opportunity for Stanford with 5:09 to go and Dani Jackovich recorded an even-strength score with 4:16 on the clock.
Stanford scored on six of its eight 6-on-5 opportunities against Michigan.
Tied 2-2 midway through the first quarter, Stanford scored five straight to open a 7-2 lead. Katie Dudley started it off with another exclusion goal at 1:36 in the first. Lauren Norheim closed out the period when her lob off a feed from Natalie Chun found its way past Julia Campbell with five ticks left.
Stanford's first three goals of the second quarter, which capped the 5-0 spurt, were set up by Rachel Johnson. The senior found Raney in a 6-on-5 at 7:00 and hit Neushul right in front of the cage on the break at 6:23. Johnson hit Raney again at 5:42.
Raney carried the Cardinal in the second, scoring three of Stanford's five goals to notch her second career hat trick.
Up 9-4 at the half, Stanford was held scoreless in the third and Michigan inched to within 9-7 thanks to tallies from Kelly Martin, Danielle Johnson and Ali Thomason.
After averaging 5.0 saves in three games at the season-opening LouStrong Memorial, Julia Hermann started her Stanford Invitational with her first career double-digit save performance, racking 11 stops against Michigan.
Klass was joined by Neushul, Shannon Cleary and Anna Yelizarova with hat tricks against the Spartans.
The Cardinal led 11-4 at halftime and 12-8 after three quarters, but shut out its opponent down the stretch, this time by a 5-0 clip in the final eight minutes.
San Jose State peppered Julia Hermann with 32 shots and Stanford's redshirt sophomore goalkeeper was able to make a career-high 17 saves.
Thus far, the Cardinal has outscored its opponents, 19-5, in the fourth quarter.
No. 8 Stanford lost its first dual meet of the season to host No. 12 USC on Saturday at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center.
The Cardinal (5-1), coming off three consecutive dual meet wins to start 2016, was unable to erase an early deficit to the Trojans (7-1). USC, which knocked off Cal on Friday, won, 167-133.
"We are really happy with a lot of swims," said Stanford men's swimming directror Ted Knapp. "Not a lot of wins, but our depth continues to get better; the final relay was a prime example of that."
The Trojans seized the lead by winning the 200-yard medley relay, the first event of the day. The Cardinal team of with Ryan Dudzinski, Christian Brown, Andrew Liang and Sam Perry (1:27.76) placed second.
Liam Egan (9:12.34) finished third in the 1000-yard freestyle, followed by second and third-place finishes in the 200-yard freestyle by Cole Cogswell (1:37.60) and Sean Duggan (1:38.09). Dudzinski (48.47) was narrowly out-touched in the 100-yard backstroke by .25 seconds, finishing second.
Matt Anderson (54.66) and Daniel Le (54.66) took second and third place, respectively, in the 100-yard breaststroke.
The Cardinal put a dent in the Trojans' lead with a sweep of the podium in the 200-yard butterfly by Gray Umbach (1:44.90), Liang (1:46.21) and Abrahm DeVine (1:47.48).
Sam Perry (20.21) narrowly lost the 50-yard freestyle by .05 seconds, taking third place. At the first break. Stanford trailed USC, 76-55.
After the break, Perry (43.79) bounced back with a win in the 100-yard freestyle, with Spencer DeShon (44.69) and Jeff Garnier (44.85) picking up points in third and fourth place, respectively.
Anderson (1:58.85) followed it up with a third-place finish in the 200-yard breastroke. Egan (4:26.12) claimed third place in the 500-yard freestyle, with Curtis Ogren (4:29.66) in fourth.
Liang (47.10) and Umbach (47.40) finished one-two in the 100-yard butterfly with Connor Black (48.08) in fourth place. At the second break, Stanford trailed, 138-107.
Williamson (1:46.85) finished second in the 200-yard individual medley with Ogren (1:49.74) finishing in third place.
Stanford finished the meet strongly with a one-two finish in the 400-yard free relay. Perry, DeShon, Garnier and Cogswell (2:57.06) took the top spot while Black, Liang, Umbach and Duggan (2:57.17) finished second by .11 seconds.
On the diving side of the competition, Connor Kuremsky (324.75) and Bradley Christiansen (313.20) took third and fifth place, respectively, in the 1-meter.
"Coming to USC was a great experience for Connor and Brad," said diving coach Patrick Jeffrey. "We learned some valuable lessons to take forward into the postseason."
Christiansen (367.95) placed fourth in the 3-meter with Kuremsky (351.30) in fifth.
The Cardinal returns to action Feb. 20, hosting Cal at Avery Aquatics Center for the Big Splash at noon.
Sixth-ranked Stanford swept host No. 12 Cal State Northridge, 25-19, 25-21, 25-17, Saturday at The Matadome as it wrapped-up its four-match road swing in southern California.
The Cardinal hit .342 as a team while holding the Matadors to a .128 clip. Stanford held a 40-29 advantage in kills and a 9-7 edge in blocks.
Senior setter James Shaw controlled the offense with 34 assists, a season-best in a three-set match. Sophomore libero Evan Enriques anchored the defense with a team-high six digs.
Offensively, senior Madison Hayden hit .500, notching 10 kills on 16 swings with just two errors. Redshirt junior opposite Gabriel Vega paced the squad with 13 kills and three blocks, while freshman Jordan Ewert had seven kills hitting .357.
Stanford again was strong in the opening set, hitting .357 and holding CSUN to just six kills. The Cardinal has won the first set in all 10 matches this season.
Stanford's middle blockers Conrad Kaminski and Kevin Rakestraw combined for eight kills and eight blocks.
Stanford returns to The Farm for its next four matches, starting Friday against No. 5 Hawai'i. First serve between the Cardinal and Rainbow Warriors is slated for 7 p.m. in Burnham Pavilion.