Stanford came out clicking on all cylinders in this one. The Cardinal converted on almost all of their 6 on 5 power plays for the entire game to eventually cruise to a 13-5 win. Other than a 2nd quarter run by the Bears to cut the deficit to two, Stanford owned the rest of this game.
Bears will take on No.1 USC next week, so there is another shot to move up in the rankings. However, the Bears' postseason dream will probably require winning the MPSF tournament now.
No. 7 California (19-6, 1-2 MPSF) at No. 3 Stanford (17-2, 3-0 MPSF)
When: 3 pm PT
TV: Pac-12 Bay Area
It is time for the Big Splash - Women's Water Polo version. With the top three scorers from last season taking a sabbatical to help their home country qualify for the Olympics (it works as all three of Dora Antal and Anna Illes of Hungary and Roser Tarrago of Spain are all going to be Calympians in the Rio 2016 games), the Golden Bears have had to rely on some new players for offense in 2016. It has been an up and down season as the result.
Carla Carrega has been the main scorer for the Bears, leading the team with 52 goals.
Emily Laughlin (when she is not teaching a female student athlete decal class) is next with 35 goals, follow by Pippa Saunders with 26.
Early on in the year, the Bears defeated host and then No.1 Stanford at the Stanford Invitation by a 5-2 result. Since then, however, the Bears have lost to Hawaii, Michigan, Arizona State (sudden death OT), UC Davis in addition to the more acceptable loss to UCLA.
What all these means is that despite the expanded field for the NCAA Tournament, the Golden Bears will be left out if they can't find a way to beat either Stanford this week or USC in two weeks and have a good showing at the MPSF tournament at the end of the month.
What is encouraging: the two MPSF losses by the Bears have been super close. Bears suffered a close 4-3 loss to No.2 UCLA and lost in sudden death OT to No.5 Arizona State (who the Bears need to leapfrog to make the tournament).
Perhaps due to the loss of those top scorers, the Bears have become a very defensive team this year, allowing just 5.12 goals per match. Junior Madeline Trabbuco has now been the sole keeper of the cage in conference play after she and freshman Madison Tagg have split time earlier in the year (both keepers have been quite successful).
Check out what senior Pippa Saunders says about the Big Splash on her blog on CalBears.com:
Our main focus this week has been preparing for the Cal vs. Stanford "Big Splash" game on Saturday at 3 p.m! The Big Splash is important for both teams because it is not just any regular MPSF game, but a school rivalry game! Although we have already beaten Stanford once this season, we know that this will not be a game to overlook. Both teams are going to come out with a ton of energy and past records won't mean much when the first period whistle blows. It's going to be a fun one, so don't miss out on it! If you can't make it to Stanford tomorrow afternoon, be sure to tune in to Pac-12 Networks as it will be a televised game!
Also, check out Cal student-athlete Molly Quinn who talks about double majoring in Archaeology and Geography, a wannabe Indiana Jones.