May 8, 2009

 

COLLEGE PARK Md. - It is one down and two to go for the second-seeded Stanford women's water polo team at the 2009 National Collegiate Women's Water Polo Championship at Maryland's Eppley Recretion Center. The Cardinal (25-3) stormed out to a 12-0 lead within the first 15 minutes of Friday's contest opposite seventh-seeded Marist (18-14), and cruised to a 21-5 victory over the Red Foxes.

Stanford now moves on to Saturday's semifinal round, where it will take on the winner of Friday afternoon's Michigan-UCLA contest. Tomorrow's semifinal is set for a 2:45 p.m. PT (5:45 p.m. ET) opening sprint, with a berth in Sunday's national championship game on the line.

"I thought we came out with a lot of energy, which we wanted to do," said Stanford head coach John Tanner. "We wanted to play uptempo, make them play at our speed, and I thought we did that right away. Four, five goals in the first five minutes really helped get us into a flow for the tournament."

Pallavi Menon scored a game-high four goals for Stanford in the win, while Cassie Churnside, Kira Hillman and Lauren Silver each scored three times. Koree Blyleven, Kelly Eaton and Kelsey Holshouser each scored twice, and Kim Krueger and Melissa Seidemann netted goals to round out the Cardinal scoring.

 

 

Amber Oland started the contest and played into the second period, stopping five shots while keeping the Red Foxes out of the net. Kim Hall came on with 5:48 to play in the second period and went the rest of the way in the cage, making seven saves.

 

The Cardinal opened up the scoring on its third possession of the game, as after a pair of turnovers, it broke through 1:26 in as Eaton fired home a shot from near the top of the perimeter. That goal served to open the floodgates, as the Cardinal scored goals on six of its next seven possessions to open up a 7-0 lead.

"Obviously we can't win the game without offense, but we also really want to be strong on our defense and not have even the best teams score any goals if we can help it," Eaton said after the game.

Stanford took advantage of Marist ejections on its next two possessions, as Kira Hillman fired low and snuck her shot inside the post just 29 seconds after Eaton's first goal. Eaton would sandwich the second goal with another score 51 seconds later on the Cardinal's second power-play opportunity.

Jessica Steffens, Stanford's 2008 Olympian two-meter defender, would help Oland keep the shutout going on the ensuing Marist attack, coming up with a key field block that thwarted a Red Fox 6-on-5 that threatened to cut the Cardinal advantage.

Silver got into the scoring mix by converting a five-meter penalty shot with 4:21 remaining in the opening period, and netted her second score 1:09 later by capping a Cardinal rush in transition.

Freshmen Menon and Seidemann scored the final two goals of the period, while Hillman narrowly missed giving Stanford an 8-0 lead as the period closed when her loft shot from the right side was corralled by the fingertip-save of Marist goalkeeper Jessica Getchius.

Oland made three saves over the final four minutes of the period to preserve her blank sheet for her time in the cage Friday. After Stanford scored three goals within the first 2:12 of the second period to go up by double digits at 10-0, she was relieved in the cage by fellow sophomore Hall.

After Menon scored a second-chance goal and Krueger converted in a 6-on-5 situation within 1:24 of each other to make it 12 in a row for Stanford, Marist would finally break the shutout as Kristen Barnett got one past Hall from the far side of the cage for a 6-on-5 goal with 2:51 to play in the half.

Stanford would then score four straight goals to go up 16-1 nearing the halfway point of the third period, and later on would score the final three goals of the contest to provide the final tally.

Marist - 0 1 3 1 = 5
Stanford - 7 6 5 3 = 21

Stanford Goal Scorers: Menon 4, Churnside 3, Hillman 3, Silver 3, Blyleven 2, Eaton 2, Holshouser 2, Krueger, Seidemann
Marist Goal Scorers: Barnett 2, Lischwe, Pauli, Rampton
Goalie Saves: Oland 5, Hall 7 (S); Getchius 8 (M)