Stanford men off to best water polo start in three years


The third-ranked Stanford men's water polo team scored four unanswered goals in the third quarter and held off No. 5 UC Santa Barbara in the late stages to capture a key road win in a top-five men's water polo showdown Saturday at UCSB's Campus Pool.

A strong all-around performance from Stanford led to its first 6-0 start since 2015. Seven different members of the Cardinal scored, highlighted by a hat trick from Ben Hallock. Stanford came up with key stops down the stretch, as goalie Oliver Lewis finished with a career-high 15 saves.

Oliver Lewis/Stanford Athletics
Stanford erased a two-goal second-quarter deficit with consecutive scores in the final 4:27 of the half.

Hallock recorded his fourth hat trick in five matches played this season, punching home a feed from Bennett Williams.

Sophomore Tyler Abramson then found the back of the cage moments later for his team-leading 19th goal of the season to knot it up before the break.

The Cardinal and Gauchos traded goals early in the third, with Williams powering home a pass from Dylan Woodhead for his 18th score of the season.

Seniors Blake Parrish and Marco Stanchi connected 2:41 later to put Stanford on top for the first time in the match. Parrish took the Stanchi feed and put it in the back of the cage to give the Cardinal a 6-5 advantage.

Stanford's momentum didn't stop there. The Cardinal continued on the attack and when it was all said and done, Stanford had scored four unanswered goals with freshman Jackson Seybold and Abramson rounding out the scoring run for an 8-5 advantage.

UCSB (12-4) snapped the run with consecutive goals to cut the Cardinal lead to one with 7:37 to play.

Stanford's defense clamped down from there. Lewis stopped four Gaucho shots on goal over the final seven minutes, snuffing a UCSB penalty shot during the span.

The senior duo of Parrish and Stanchi connected again to give Stanford a two-goal cushion late in the match.

Stanford continued to snarl a furious UCSB attack in the final minutes, highlighted by another key save from Lewis.

The 6-foot-6 senior goalie, who earlier this season posted 14 stops in the win over St. Francis Brooklyn, finished the contest with a career-high 15 saves on Saturday.

UCSB's Tiago Bonchristiano, a Menlo School grad, and Justyn Barrios split time in the cage for the Gauchos, totaling 10 saves. Boris Jovanovic, UCSB's leading scorer with 50 goals on the year, was held to just two on Saturday.

Stanford makes the 83-mile trip from UC Santa Barbara to Pepperdine for a noon match on Sunday with the No. 10 Waves.

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