Top-ranked Stanford overcomes shaky start to defeat No. 5 Arizona State
STANFORD, Calif. -- Top-ranked Stanford got 11 combined goals from the trio of Annika Dries, Ashley Grossman and Kiley Neushul, and the defense did not concede a goal in the final 26:41 as the Cardinal defeated No. 5 Arizona State 14-4 Saturday at Avery Aquatic Center.
The win improved the Cardinal to 17-1 overall and 3-0 in MPSF play. Stanford travels to UCLA next week for a showdown between the two co-No. 1s in the national poll. The Cardinal and Bruins will meet Friday, April 11, on the Pac-12 Network.
Dries and Grossman scored four times each while Neushul bagged three goals. Kaley Dodson, Maggie Steffens and Anna Yelizarova also added a goal apiece.
The Cardinal defense came together quickly after a shaky start in which it allowed four goals in the game’s first six minutes. Yet after Petra Pardi’s extra-attacker goal put the Sun Devils ahead 4-3 with 2:41 left in the opening period, the Cardinal went into lockdown mode, shutting Arizona State out the rest of the way. Goalie Gabby Stone got the start and made four saves.
Stanford was forced to play catch up during the first period due to playing short-handed multiple times on the defensive end. The Cardinal suffered five kickouts in the opening frame, with three of those power play resulting in goals for the Sun Devils and another goal coming just two seconds after the expiration of a Cardinal penalty. Izabella Chiappini scored the first goal just 1:11 into the contest, only to be answered less than a minute later by Grossman’s first.
The teams followed this pattern thrice more over the next few minutes, with Arizona State scoring to go ahead only for the Cardinal to keep pulling them back. It came to a halt with nine seconds remaining in the first period, when Steffens converted a five-meter penalty shot with nine seconds remaining to put Stanford in front, 5-4.
Grossman scored her third goal of the game just 31 seconds into the second frame, and while the Cardinal defense was locking down the Sun Devil attack, Dries got the lead to three with a goal at the 2:16 mark as the Cardinal took a 7-4 lead into the break.
Yelizarova and Grossman scored the first two goals of the second half, putting the Cardinal up 9-4. Stanford played disciplined water polo in the second half, only taking three ejections, and the defense was in a groove as it killed all three penalties. By the time Neushul scored twice in the third period’s final minute, the Cardinal had the victory well in hand.