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Back at Avery

Oct 1, 2014

WHAT’S AHEAD?: The No. 2 Stanford men’s water polo team (10-1) begins MPSF action with its first home game of the 2014 season on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. against No. 9 UC Irvine (10-3, 0-1 MPSF). The meeting with the Anteaters will be the first of the Cardinal’s four Pac-12 Networks broadcasts this year with Jason Knapp handling play-by-play and Chris Dorst providing analysis. On Sunday, Stanford will return to Davis for the second straight week for a non-conference matchup with the No. 11 Aggies (7-7) at noon.

SATURDAY AUTOGRAPHS: Following Saturday's game, the Cardinal will be signing autographs in the plaza in front of the Avery Aquatic Center. All fans will receive a free poster for the team for signing.

LOOKING BACK TO LAST WEEK: The Cardinal swept its way through the Aggie Shootout in Davis last Saturday and Sunday, defeating its four opponents (Chapman, Occidental, No. 18 Navy, No. 19 Whittier) by a combined score of 96-13. Stanford scored at least 21 goals in each of four games at the two-day event, averaging 24, while holding its opponents to 3.25.

ALL AT ONCE: Prior to this season, four Stanford men’s water polo players had ever reached the 200-goal plateau and two more added their names in a one-week span in late September. At the Kap7 NorCal Classic on Sunday, Sept. 21, Alex Bowen attained the hallowed mark and was joined by teammate Bret Bonanni on Sunday, Sept. 28 at the Aggie Shootout. Bowen (213 career goals) and Bonanni (204) are third and fifth on Stanford’s all-time list, respectively, among other 200-goal luminaries Tony Azevedo (332; 2001-04), James Bergeson (235; 1979-82), Jody Campbell (211; 1978-81) and Wolf Wigo (203; 1991-94).

ON PACE: Bonanni, whose 97 goals a year ago were a Stanford single-season record, is ahead of the pace set by the legendary Tony Azevedo for the Cardinal career record. Azevedo had 163 goals after his sophomore season and finished with a school-record 332. Bonanni had 170 coming into this year. His 97 goals in 2013 broke the school record previously held by Azevedo, who had 95 in 2002.

VARGAS WINS 250TH: Stanford’s 25-1 victory over Occidental on Sept. 27 was the 250th of head coach John Vargas’ career at the helm of the Cardinal program. Vargas, in his 13th year on The Farm, has won 76.4 percent of his games for Stanford (252 of 330).

OFFENSIVE ONSLAUGHT: Stanford has scored at an extremely rapid rate and not only leads the MPSF in that category, but is making its case as one of the better offensive squads in recent memory. The Cardinal has scored at least 20 goals eight times in its first 11 games. In the previous decade (2004-13), Stanford reached that mark in a single game on 12 total occasions.

BEST IN THE WORLD: Last Tuesday, Bonanni was named one of six finalists for the FINA Men’s Water Polo Athlete of the Year. The American is joined on the ballot by Filip Filipovic (SRB), Dusan Mandic (SRB), Gojko Pijetlovic (SRB), Daniel Varga (HUN) and Denes Varga (HUN). Awarded by the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) and FINA Aquatics World Magazine, voting is carried out by FINA member federations and everyone who holds a FINA position. The winner is slated to receive the award at a special ceremony in Doha, Qatar ahead of the World Swimming Championships (25m) set to start December 3. Bonanni represented his country as part of the USA Men’s Senior National Team during the summer of 2014 at the FINA Intercontinental Qualification Tournament, the four-game series with Serbia in Northern California (June 4-8), the FINA World League Super Final and the FINA World Cup. He was named to the All-Tournament Team at the FINA World Cup in Almaty, Kazakhstan (Aug. 19-24) after leading the U.S. to a fourth-place finish by scoring 13 total goals. Stanford’s Maggie Steffens is a finalist for the women’s version of the award.

SEEING THE STATS: Stanford finds itself leading the MPSF in goals per game (19.64), just ahead of USC (18.46) and UCLA (18.23), and second in goals allowed per game (5.09), trailing the Bruins (4.08). Individually, Bret Bonanni’s 34 scores place him sixth in goals per game average (3.09). Alex Bowen is ninth (2.27), Cody Smith is 15th (2.09) and Griffin Bolan is 19th (1.91). Smith is second among freshmen in MPSF scoring trailing USC’s Matteo Morelli (2.15 goals per game). Drew Holland’s 5.38 goals against average is fifth in the conference and his 7.31 saves per game are 11th.

POLL WATCH: Stanford maintained its spot in the national rankings (95 points) at No. 2, behind No. 1 UCLA (100 points) in this week’s CWPA Men’s Varsity Top 20 Poll. California (90 points) USC (85 points) and UCSB (80 points) round out the top five.

GLOBETROTTERS: Alex Bowen, Bret Bonanni, Conner Cleary and Jackson Kimbell all made appearances for the USA Men’s Senior National Team this summer at various events across the globe.  Bonanni, Bowen and Cleary represented their country at the FINA Intercontinental Qualification Tournament (Shanghai, China), the four-game series with Serbia in Northern California, the FINA World League Super Final (Dubai) and the FINA World Cup (Almaty, Kazakhstan). Kimbell played in all the aforementioned tournaments save for the FINA World Cup. All four in addition to Drew Holland were on the roster with the USA Men’s Senior National Team at the Volvo Cup in Sznolnok, Hungary in early February.