Oct. 3, 2009

 

Courtesy of Stanford

STANFORD, Calif. - The battle between the nation's No. 1 and No. 2 ranked men's water polo teams did not disappoint Saturday morning at Avery Aquatic Center, as top-ranked Stanford defended its seat atop the mountain with an 8-6 victory over UCLA.

Stanford (9-0, 1-0 MPSF) won its ninth consecutive game to start the season, and will travel to Irvine for next weekend's UCI Invitational. There, the Cardinal will open tournament action as the draw's top seed against Princeton at 8 a.m. at UC Irvine's Anteater Pool.

The Wigo Brothers, Drac and Janson, combined to score six of Stanford's eight goals in Saturday's win, while Jacob Smith accounted for the remaining two. Goalkeeper Jimmie Sandman also turned in a fine performance on the defensive end, making nine saves.

Drac Wigo got the game started on the right note for the Cardinal, skipping a shot from the left wing past UCLA goalie Chay Lapin just 1:02 into the contest to give Stanford a 1-0 lead. The score would remain that way for the remainder of the frame, as Sandman helped keep the Bruins off the board by stopping three shots.

Stanford would double its lead just 21 seconds into the second period, as Janson Wigo netted a 6-on-5 goal. But UCLA would battle back, getting a goal from Scott Davidson 53 seconds after Wigo's goal to halve the Cardinal lead, then equalizing with 5:55 to play in the half following Emilio Vieira's goal.

The Cardinal would immediately stop the bleeding and re-establish momentum 28 seconds later, as following a UCLA exclusion, Smith took advantage of a quick restart and powered home the go-ahead goal. Janson Wigo netted his second goal on Stanford's next possession, firing home a shot from the right wing. Nearly a minute and a half later, the Wigos would team with Sandman for Stanford's fifth goal.
 
With UCLA on the man advantage, Janson Wigo got a hand on a UCLA pass and made a nice steal, tipping the ball back to Sandman. The Cardinal goalie then found Drac Wigo with a long pass down the length of the tank, hitting Wigo in stroke, and the senior utility finished the bang-bang play with his second goal of the contest to put Stanford ahead 5-2 at halftime.

The teams would trade goals in the opening 2:26 of the third period before UCLA cut things to 6-4 with a Clinton Jorth goal in front with 59 seconds to go. The Stanford lead would shrink further just 40 seconds into the fourth period as Davidson netted his second of the game, giving the Bruins new life.

But another great goal would get the Cardinal some breathing room with just over five minutes to play as Smith scored his second goal of the game from inside. Still, UCLA refused to quit, netting another fourth-period goal to make it 7-6 Stanford with 3:34 to play.

The teams stalemated for the next minute and a half until the Cardinal got a breakaway opportunity around the two-minute mark. Although Lapin made the save, he was penalized on the play, giving Stanford a five-meter penalty shot which Janson Wigo buried for his fourth goal of the game.

From that point the Cardinal defense would hold up, as Sandman made a key save and UCLA lost another possession due to an offensive foul. The Cardinal was then able to run down the clock and claim its ninth straight victory to start the season.

UCLA - 0 2 2 2 - 6
Stanford - 1 4 1 2 - 8

Stanford Goal Scorers: J. Wigo 4, J. Smith 2, D. Wigo 2
UCLA Goal Scorers: Davidson 2, Hays, Jorth, Samuels, Vieira
Goalie Saves: Sandman 9 (S); Lapin 10 (UCLA)