Cardinal earn spot in NCAA
tanford (20-1) defeated Cinderella California (15-7), 7-5, to claim the MPSF Tournament Championship. The Cardinal receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Men’s Water Polo Championship.
Even though Stanford never trailed, Cal took the Cardinal down to the final minute, with senior Spencer Dornin scoring with 21 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to a single goal. Attempting to retrieve the ball, Golden Bear head coach Peter Asch sent an extra man into the pool with eight seconds remaining, drawing a four-meter penalty shot. Stanford freshman Tony Azevedo tossed the ball into the net, effectively deciding the game.
Dornin once again led the Bears, scoring two of his three goals in the fourth quarter. Russell Bernstein faced a slew of shots, and saved 10 out of 17.
For the Cardinal, freshman Tony Azevedo met his three goals per game pace, one of which came just 22 seconds after the Bears had scored two straight. The Cardinal netminder, Nick Ellis, was solid, stopping five shots.
The scoring was light early, with the game reaching halftime showing a Stanford 2-1 lead. In the third period, the Cardinal heated up, notching three goals to Cal’s one. Jeff Nesmith got things going for Stanford, flipping one past Bernstein with 1:40 gone in the frame.
With less than three minutes to go in the match and the scoreboard showing Stanford up 5-2, Chris Lathrop kick started the Bears with a score, and Dornin followed that up with another just 50 seconds later, leaving Cal down by one. However, Azevedo got open at the Bears’ end, and put one into the corner of the net.
Cal upset No. 2 UCLA and third-seeded USC to reach the final.