May 10, 2009

Courtesy of Stanford Athletics


COLLEGE PARK Md. - No. 2 Stanford bounced back Sunday evening at the National Collegiate Women's Water Polo Championship, downing No. 4 Hawai'i 14-11 to claim a third-place national finish. With the result, Stanford ends the 2009 season with a record of 26-4.

The third-place finish continues the Cardinal's stretch of top-three placements at all nine National Collegiate Women's Water Polo Championships.

Lauren Silver saved one of her best performances as a member of the Cardinal for last, scoring an eye-popping eight goals in the contest. Kelly Eaton, Kira Hillman, Kelsey Holshouser, Alex Koran, Kim Krueger and Jessica Steffens added goals in the contest as well. Amber Oland made five saves in the contest.

A four-goal run late in the third period helped Stanford put away the Rainbow Wahine Sunday. Hawai'i crept closer to the Cardinal by scoring a pair of goals to cut a three-goal deficit to one at 8-7, but Stanford's offense woke up and posted goals on its next four possessions to take firm control of the contest at 12-7, and the Cardinal was never seriously threatened the rest of the way.

The Cardinal never trailed in the game, and after Melissa Seidemann drew a five-meter penalty shot which Silver converted just 20 seconds into the contest, the game was only tied once when Hawai'i's Lisa van Raalte lobbed a shot over Oland's reach on the ensuing possession.

Stanford would answer right back the next time down, as Steffens drilled one in from the point to take back the lead. After each team went a few possessions without scoring, Stanford would break the brief drought as Silver put her second goal into the cage on the Cardinal's first 6-on-5 opportunity.

The teams alternated goals as the Cardinal led 4-3 after a period, then each team went scoreless on its first three possessions of the second before Eaton converted from the left wing to put Stanford up by a pair at 5-3.

Silver's third goal of the game one possession later put the Cardinal up 6-3, but the Rainbow Wahine would again refuse to be bowed, scoring on consecutive trips down the tank to get within 6-5. Silver, though, would again pick up the Cardinal offense by making yet another five-meter penalty shot with two seconds remaining in the half. The goal gave Stanford a 7-5 advantage heading into the break.

The game looked to be going Stanford's way as Holshouser scored on the second possession of the third period to put the Cardinal up 8-5, but, faced with another three-goal deficit, the Rainbow Wahine again got to within one thanks to goals from Saara Majuri and van Raalte.

Once again, it was Silver who put the Cardinal on her shoulders to get out of the jam, scoring three of the Cardinal's four straight goals in response.

Although Hawai'i would add a goal before the end of the period, Koran and Silver would open the final period by sandwiching a Rainbow Wahine goal to put Stanford back up by five at 14-9 with 3:05 remaining, effectively sealing up the game.

Hawai'i - 3 2 3 3 = 11 Stanford - 4 3 5 2 = 14

Stanford Goal Scorers: Silver 8, Eaton, Hillman, Holshouser, Koran, Krueger, Steffens Hawai'i Goal Scorers: Majuri 3, van Raalte 3, Eggens 2, Genee, Mason, Van Der Molen Goalie Saves: Oland 5 (S); Bredin 8 (H)