STANFORD, Calif. – The No. 4 Cal women’s water polo team was within two of No. 1 Stanford midway through the fourth quarter Saturday but couldn’t close the gap any further and fell to the Cardinal 9-6 in the annual Big Splash at the Avery Aquatic Center.
After falling behind 4-1 at the end of the first quarter, the Bears (17-7, 2-4 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) got back-to-back goals from senior Ashley Young and freshman Dora Antal to trim the deficit to 4-3 with 3:22 left in the first half. That began a flurry of scoring in which the teams combined for six goals in the final 4:12 of the second quarter. The Bears and Cardinal alternated goals for the remainder of the half and Stanford took a 6-5 lead into the intermission.
Cal played a tough brand of defense in the second half, led by a handful of spectacular saves by freshman goalie Madeline Trabucco. Neither team scored in the third quarter until Stanford finally made it 7-5 with 3:23 remaining. Stanford didn’t score again until 4:28 remained in the fourth quarter.
Trabucco finished with seven saves, including reaching high into the air to turn away a breakaway lob by Stanford’s Ashley Grossman.
Antal and fellow freshman Anna Illes scored two goals each for the Bears. Young barely missed her second when her skip shot just glanced off the crossbar midway through the fourth quarter and the Bears trailing 7-5.
Saturday’s match closed the regular season for the Bears, who next move on to next week’s MPSF Tournament at USC. Cal is the No. 4 seed and will open against No. 5 San Jose State on Friday at 2:30 p.m.
No. 1 Stanford 9, No. 4 Cal 6
Cal 1 4 0 1 - 6
Stan 4 2 1 2 - 9
Cal Goals: Dora Antal 2, Anna Illes 2, Kelly McKee, Ashley Young
Stanford Goals: Ashley Grossman 2, Anna Yelizarova 2, Annika Dries, Jamie Neushul, Kiley Neushul, Maggie Steffens, Kelsey Suggs.
Cal Saves: Madeline Trabucco 7.
Stanford Saves: Gabby Stone 9.