Stanford collected 31 points, one first-place vote and was picked second in the preseason
Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Women's Water Polo Coaches' Poll, released by the conference Thursday.
Denied in its bid for back-to-back national championships last May, Stanford will be in a strong position as it looks to reclaim the crown.
The Cardinal returns its four leading goal scorers from a year ago in Makenzie Fischer (67), Kat Klass (39), Madison Berggren (36) and Aria Fischer (35) and welcomes more than 80 percent of its total scoring offense back into the fold (229 of 285) this season.
At the other end of the pool, Stanford must replace Julia Hermann in the cage as part of a class of four departed seniors.
Hermann was a third-team All-American last season, finished second in the MPSF in goals against average (5.35) and had five of her seven double-digit save performances in the season's final seven games.
Stanford's six-person freshman class includes Youth National Team goalkeeper Thea Walsh and Junior National Team members Chloe Harbilas and Ryann Neushul.
Neushul is the youngest sister of Stanford alums Kiley and Jamie Neushul, who each won three national championships with the Cardinal and combined for five first-team All-America honors.
Stanford, which hosts both the MPSF and NCAA championships at Avery Aquatic Center in late April and mid-May, opens its regular season at the Cal Cup on Jan. 26.