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2022: Season in Review

Jun 17, 2022

STANFORD, Calif. - For the eighth time in program history, No. 1 Stanford (25-2, 5-1 MPSF) claimed the NCAA title with a 10-7 victory over USC to close out the 2022 campaign. 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 2019. Appearing in its 11th NCAA final in 12 seasons, Stanford put the finishing touches on a dominant season that featured two double-digit winning streaks, seven weeks owning the nation's No. 1 ranking and its first MPSF crown since 2014. 

NCAA Title No. 8
Stanford delivered a clutch performance in the NCAA final, defeating USC for the third time this season. However, 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 while Ryann Neushul added three goals.

Tied 5-5, Sophie Wallace found the cage with 4:22 remaining in the third period, answering a USC score. Tied 7-7, Jewel Roemer delivered the eventual go-ahead goal with under three minutes to play. Stanford held a 26-25 shot edge while both teams struggled on the power play, with the Cardinal finishing 3-of-9 and the Trojans converting 4-of-11.

Defense Was The Difference

One constant during Stanford's 11-match winning streak to end the season was a stingy defense, holding every opponent during that same stretch to less than 10 goals. The Cardinal was even more impressive over its three NCAA contests, allowing only eight second-half goals and limiting the opposition to a 9-31 mark on the power play and .207 shot percentage. The Cardinal also produced a 16-0 record away from home in 2022 (6-0 away, 11-0 neutral).

First MPSF Title Since 2014

Stanford secured the MPSF's automatic bid with an 11-9 victory over USC, erasing a fourth-quarter deficit to capture its sixth conference title but only its first since 2014. Trailing 8-7, Stanford took control with consecutive goals from Hannah Constandse, Ryann Neushul and Jewel Roemer over a two-minute stretch. Neushul produced a team-best four goals, scoring twice in the first half to help Stanford build a 6-3 lead.

Balanced Offense + Star Trio

The Cardinal, which received at least one goal from all 21 available field players in 2022, averaged 15.5 goals and 30.2 shots per game while limiting its opponents to 6.7 goals per game.

Returning to the pool for the first time since 2019 due to both Olympic training/competition and pandemic-shortened seasons, the Cardinal's All-American trio of Aria Fischer (62 goals, 23 assists, 121 shots), Makenzie Fischer (83 goals, 47 assists, 167 shots) and Ryann Neushul (69 goals, 33 assists, 106 shots) was dominant. For the first time in school history, three players scored at least 60 goals.

ACWPC All-Americans

Stanford was honored with five Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC) All-Americans, led by Makenzie Fischer and Aria Fischer being recognized on the first team. 

The Cardinal was honored with at least four ACWPC All-Americans for the 18th straight season, with two players qualifying for the first team for the sixth consecutive year.

Also earning recognition were Ryann Neushul (second team), Maya Avital (second team) and Jewel Roemer (honorable mention). Meanwhile, head coach John Tanner was named the ACWPC Coach of the Year, guiding the Cardinal to its eighth NCAA title in school history and first since 2019.

Leading The Way Academically

 Stanford was honored with a conference-best 15 student-athletes on the 2022 MPSF All-Academic Team. The Cardinal has placed at least seven student-athletes on the MPSF All-Academic Team for 19 consecutive seasons.

To be eligible, a student-athlete must carry at least a 3.00 GPA, be at least a sophomore academically, have completed one full academic year at the institution prior to the season for which the award is received and have competed in at least 50 percent of the team's competition in the season for which the award is received.

Makenzie FischerChloe Harbilas and Lauren Indart were recognized as three-time recipients.

Two-time honorees included Floranne CarrollHannah ConstandseAria FischerKatie LyonsLexi Rowell and Sophie Wallace.

Maya AvitalChristina HicksSkyler JonesRyann NeushulJewel Roemer and Celeste Wijnbelt were honored for the first time in their careers.

Fischer's Storybook Ending
Makenzie Fischer's impressive final campaign concluded with her second Peter J. Cutino Award trophy, presented to the most outstanding collegiate player in the nation. A two-time ACWPC Player of the Year and four-time ACWPC All-American, Fischer was named the NCAA Most Valuable Player after guiding Stanford to its eighth NCAA title while leading the team in goals (83), assists (47), points (130), shots (167) and multi-goal games (23).

Fischer became the Cardinal's all-time leading scorer in a win over USC on Feb. 26, closing with 288 career goals, which also ranks third all-time in MPSF history.

Honored as the CoSIDA Academic All-America At-Large Team Member of the Year for the second time in her career (2019, 2022), Fischer is also a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-America At-Large (2018, 2019, 2022).

Avital Shines In Goal

In 25 games as the Cardinal's primary goalkeeper, Maya Avital posted a 23-2 record while making 210 saves, including a career-high 16 against California on Feb. 5. Avital enjoyed a breakthrough year, honored as an All-American for the first time in her career while also earning All-MPSF Honorable Mention accolades. Avital's 210 saves ranked fifth in school history for a single season.

Tanner Two Away From 600

Through 25 seasons, head coach John Tanner has compiled a 598-88 (.871) overall record while directing the Cardinal to 21 all-time NCAA appearances, eight NCAA titles (2022, 2019, 2017, 2015, 2014, 2012, 2011, 2002) and nine national runner-ups.