Late Surge Lifts No. 2 Stanford Past No. 6 Bears
STANFORD – After getting off to a fast start Saturday, the depleted No. 6 Cal women's water polo team fell to No. 2 Stanford 11-8 in the annual Big Splash at Avery Aquatic Center.
The Bears (15-4, 3-3 MPSF) stunned the Cardinal with goals on each of their first three possessions to lead 3-0 just over two minutes into the game. But Stanford came back and eventually pulled away in the fourth quarter.
Already playing without injured starter Maryn Dempsey, third-leading scorer Cecily Turner picked up her third exclusion with 3:19 left in the second quarter. Leading scorer Emma Wright also fouled out with just under five minutes to play.
After winning the game's opening sprint, Cal scored quickly on a goal by senior Elli Protopapas. Sophomore Ruby Swadling followed with a goal of her own on the Bears' next possession. Each of Cal's first two goals were assisted by Wright.
Protopapas scored again off an assist by Swadling to push the advantage to 3-0.
Stanford scored four goals in a row to take the lead early in the second quarter, and the teams then traded goals until the Cardinal notched three in a row early in the fourth quarter to break a 7-7 tie.
Protopapas finished with two goals and an assist while Wright had a goal and two assists. Freshman Rozanne Voorvelt also scored twice while junior goalie Isabel Williams registered 12 saves.
The Bears next move on to the MPSF Championships next weekend at USC. The Bears will have the No. 4 seed and will open up against fifth-seeded Arizona State on Friday at 2:30 p.m.