Stanford women's water polo has earned itself a spot among the elite programs in the nation, laying claim to national championships in 2002, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2019, and the distinction of being the only team to qualify for every NCAA Championship since the tournament's inception in 2001. In 2015, the Cardinal added to its lore by becoming the first host institution to win a national title and it repeated the feat again in 2019.
Stanford has reached the NCAA Championship final 15 times in those 20 appearances. The Cardinal has captured seven national championships (2002, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2019), finished second eight times and third four times.
Since 1996, Stanford has also won five MPSF Tournament titles (2000, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2014) and racked up an impressive 637-105 (.858) overall record.
In its 26-year history, Stanford women's water polo student-athletes have collected 125 ACWPC All-America accolades as well as 124 selections to the various All-MPSF teams. On 10 occasions a Stanford student-athlete has taken home player of the year honors. Brenda Villa earned the award in 2001, Jackie Frank claimed it in two consecutive years (2002 and 2003), Annika Dries was honored in 2011 and 2014, Kiley Neushul in 2012, Melissa Seidemann in 2013, Maggie Steffens in 2015 and 2017 and Makenzie Fischer in 2019.
Villa (2002), Frank (2003), Dries (2011 and 2014), Neushul (2012 and 2015), Seidemann (2013) and Fischer (2019) have each also claimed the prestigious Peter J. Cutino Award, presented annually by the Olympic Club to the country's top female collegiate player.
Brenda Villa (2001-03) and Maggie Steffens (2013-15, 17) are the only Cardinal student-athletes to have earned first-team All-America honors in each of their seasons at Stanford.
But it has not only been in the pool where the Cardinal has excelled, as the program has had 213 ACWPC All-Academic selections and 188 MPSF All-Academic nods since 1998.
Twelve Stanford athletes have also had the honor of representing the United States at the Olympics since women's water polo was added in 2000. At the 2012 London Games, Villa, Jessica Steffens, Annika Dries, Melissa Seidemann and Maggie Steffens paced the United States to its first Olympic gold and Steffens was named MVP after scoring a tournament-best 21 goals.
Steffens and Seidemann returned in 2016 along with first-time Olympians Aria Fischer, Makenzie Fischer and Kiley Neushul and the United States won its second consecutive gold medal in Rio. Steffens captained that U.S. squad and earned her straight straight Olympic MVP award.
Villa is the Cardinal's only four-time Olympian, earning a gold medal (2012), two silver medals (2000 and 2008) and a bronze medal (2004). She served as Team USA's captain in 2008 and 2012.
Steffens and Seidemann, along with Ellen Estes, a member of the U.S. teams in 2000 and 2004, and Jessica Steffens, who made her first Olympic trip in 2008, are Stanford's two-time Olympians. Margie Dingeldein (2004), Jackie Frank (2004) and Alison Gregorka (2008) have all made an appearance on Team USA.
Thanks in part to the play and leadership from that group, the U.S. holds the distinction of being the only nation to medal in all five of the Olympic women's water polo tournaments.