National Champions Again
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – For the eighth time in program history, No. 1 Stanford claimed the NCAA title, taking home the 2022 crown with a 10-7 victory over USC on Sunday afternoon.
The nation's only program to have participated at every NCAA Championship since the event's inception in 2001, Stanford won it all for the first time since defeating USC in 2019. The Cardinal has also captured national championships in 2017, 2015, 2014, 2012, 2011 and 2002.
Appearing in its 11th NCAA final in 12 seasons, Stanford (25-2, 5-1 MPSF) put the finishing touches on a dominant season that featured two different 10-match winning streaks, seven weeks carrying the nation's No. 1 ranking and its first MPSF title since 2014.
Stanford delivered another clutch performance on Sunday, defeating USC (20-4, 6-0 MPSF) for the third time this season. But nothing came easy, as the Trojans led 3-2 after the first period, 4-3 at halftime and tied the game for the fifth time early in the fourth period to make it 7-7 with 6:37 remaining.
Playing in her final game, NCAA Tournament MVP Makenzie Fischer scored a game-high four goals on six shots, once again raising her game when it mattered most. Ryann Neushul added three goals and Aria Fischer chipped in with three assist and a game-high seven attempts.
The offensive production from the Fischer sisters and Neushul was no surprise – each member of the Cardinal trio scored at least 60 goals in 2022, representing a first in school history.
However, two other goals proved extremely valuable. Tied 5-5, Sophie Wallace found the cage with 4:22 remaining in the third period, answering a USC score and giving Stanford a lead it would never relinquish. Tied 7-7, Jewel Roemer steadied the Cardinal for good with the eventual go-ahead goal with under three minutes to play.
Stanford held a slight 26-25 edge in shots while both teams struggled on the power play, with the Cardinal finishing 3-of-9 and the Trojans converting 4-of-11.
Leading 8-7, Makenzie Fischer gave the Cardinal more breathing room with her final goal before Neushul fired away on an empty net with 26 seconds remaining.
Maya Avital made nine saves in goal, finishing with 210 and ranking fifth on the Cardinal's all-time single-season list.
Head coach John Tanner, who picked up his 598th career victory, has led the Cardinal to eight NCAA titles, ranking second overall among active Stanford head coaches behind only Lele Forood of women's tennis (10).
Stanford has won 130 NCAA championships (69 men, 61 women) and 157 national championships overall. Of Stanford's 130 NCAA championships, 35 have been won by fall sports, 31 by winter sports and 64 by spring sports. Since 2000, Stanford has captured 54 NCAA crowns.
Stanford has won at least one NCAA team championship during each of the last 46 seasons, dating back to the 1976-77 campaign. This is the second NCAA team title in 2021-22, as men's gymnastics won it all last month.
Stanford Goals: Makenzie Fischer (4), Ryann Neushul (3), Chloe Harbilas (1), Jewel Roemer (1), Sophie Wallace (1)
All-Tournament Team (Most Valuable Player): Makenzie Fischer (Stanford)
All-Tournament Team (First Team): Makenzie Fischer (Stanford), Aria Fischer (Stanford), Tilly Kearns (USC), Paige Hauschild (USC), Maddie Musselman (UCLA), Tara Prentice (UC Irvine), Isabel Williams (California)
All-Tournament Team (Second Team): Ryann Neushul (Stanford), Jewel Roemer (Stanford), Maya Avital (Stanford), Emma Wright (California), Maddie O'Reilly (Michigan), Fanni Muzsnay (Fresno State), Abbey Simshauser (Wagner)
Welcome Back Celebration: For fans interested in welcoming the women's water polo team home to The Farm, please meet at Pac-12 Plaza on Monday, May 9 at 3:30 p.m. PT (please check @Stanfordh2opolo social channels in case arrival timing changes). Get your Cardinal gear ready and join us in celebration of this outstanding program!