First Place on the Line – GoStanford.com

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No. 1 Stanford (17-1, 4-0 MPSF) vs. No. 3 UCLA (18-1, 4-0 MPSF)
Saturday, April 15 • 3 p.m.
Avery Aquatic Center • Stanford, Calif.
Statistics (PDF)
Cardinalpalooza

WHAT’S AHEAD

No. 1 Stanford (17-1, 4-0) will have another showdown for first place in the MPSF when it hosts No. 3 UCLA (18-1, 4-0) on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m.

CARDINALPALOOZA

The match coincides with Cardinalpalooza, a free all-day sports festival that includes five other Cardinal teams in action. Highlighted by the Cardinal & White Spring Football game at 1 p.m., Cardinalpalooza also features tailgating opportunities and food trucks in Pac-12 plaza.

LOOKING BACK

The Cardinal went on the road and knocked off then-No. 1 USC 12-8 on Saturday. The victory snapped the Trojans’ NCAA-record 52-match winning streak and was the first time a road team had won at Uytengsu Aquatics Center since the Cardinal did so on March 8, 2015. Katie Dudley, Makenzie Fischer, Dani Jackovich, Jamie Neushul and Jordan Raney paced a multi-faceted attack with two-score efforts, Gabby Stone made 11 saves on 21 shot attempts (.524) and Maggie Steffens had four of Stanford’s five steals as the Cardinal held USC to three goals on nine power-play opportunities.

AGAINST UCLA

Stanford is 41-32 all-time against the Bruins and won two of three last season, including in an NCAA semifinal on May 14, 7-4. In the teams’ last meeting at Avery Aquatic Center, Kiley Neushul led Stanford to the program’s fourth national championship in the past five seasons with a 7-6 victory on May 10, 2015. Neushul capped her collegiate career by converting a game-winning penalty shot with 11 seconds remaining to send the capacity crowd into a frenzy.

AT AVERY

Stanford is 93-6 at home since 2008.

MPSF PLAYER AND NEWCOMER OF THE WEEK

Stanford swept MPSF/Kap7 weekly honors on Tuesday when junior Jordan Raney was named the league’s player of the week and freshman Makenzie Fischer its top newcomer. Raney was clutch in the win at USC, tallying a pair of goals, an assist, a steal and one field block. Her third-quarter strike, which came after the USC had scored three unanswered to climb to within one (7-6), ended a nine minute scoreless drought for Stanford and ignited a five-goal run the Cardinal used to put the game away. Fischer collected her 12th multi-goal effort of the season in the victory. She keyed a strong start for Stanford, scoring two of her team’s three first-quarter goals, and also assisted on Raney’s aforementioned third-quarter score.

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY?

Maggie Steffens has tallied hat tricks in three of Stanford’s four MPSF wins, including a career-high seven goals against CSU Bakersfield on March 25, and is averaging 3.50 goals per game in conference (14 total). She has pushed her career goal total to 211, good for fifth in program history, and has been on a tear in the Cardinal’s last 11 games, averaging 3.00 goals per outing (33 total).

STRONG START

Makenzie Fischer‘s two-goal outing at USC was her eighth multi-goal performance in Stanford’s last 11 contests. In the Cardinal’s five games against top-5 opponents this season, its freshman leads the way with 14 goals (2.80 GPG).

SEEING THE STATS

Stanford is third in the MPSF in goals per game (14.78), behind USC (15.92) and UCLA (15.84), and third in goals allowed per game (4.50), with UCLA (3.84) and USC (4.23) in the top two spots. Individually, Maggie Steffens is second in goals per game (2.61), Makenzie Fischer is fifth (2.22), Jamie Neushul is 16th (1.61), Dani Jackovich is 20th (1.33) and Kat Klass 23rd (1.22). Gabby Stone‘s 4.58 goals against average is fourth in the conference and her 9.32 saves per game are fifth. Julia Hermann is third in goals against average (4.17) and 10th in saves per game (6.96).

APPROACHING MARKS

Stanford boasts a trio of triple-digit goal scorers in Maggie Steffens (211), Jamie Neushul (126) and Dani Jackovich (101). Steffens is currently fifth in Cardinal history, three behind Ellen Estes (214). Earlier this season goalkeeper Gabby Stone (517) became the fourth player in Stanford history with 500 stops. With records dating back to 2001, Meridith McColl top the record book with 715, Kate Baldoni is second with 572 and Jackie Frank third with 523.

IN THE POLLS

Stanford retook the top spot in the national rankings (100 points) ahead of No. 2 USC (96 points) and No. 3 UCLA (92 points) in this week’s CWPA Women’s Varsity Top 25 Poll. Arizona State (87 points) and California (84 points) round out the top five.

LOOKING BACK TO 2016

Stanford finished 23-6 overall, its 12th straight campaign with more than 20 wins, and advanced to the NCAA title game for the seventh consecutive season, but ultimately was unable to collect its third straight national championship. The Cardinal, which fell to USC on a goal in the waning seconds of the national final, finished runner-up for the seventh time (2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2013). Stanford has never finished lower than third at the NCAA Championships.

WHAT’S IN STORE

Denied in its bid for the program’s third consecutive national championship last season, Stanford will have an experienced roster with a wealth of firepower as it looks to reclaim the crown in 2017. The Cardinal returns seven of its nine 20-goal scorers from a year ago, including All-Americans Jamie Neushul, Jordan Raney, Kat Klass and Dani Jackovich, along with All-American goalkeeper Julia Hermann.

OLYMPIC ADDITIONS

Added to that group are a pair of Olympians in Maggie Steffens and Makenzie Fischer. Steffens, who was the 2015 ACWPC Player of the Year in her most recent collegiate season, returns to The Farm after collecting MVP honors in Rio and captaining the United States to its second straight Olympic gold. Joining her is the freshman Fischer, who deferred her enrollment at Stanford one year and logged seven goals for Team USA at the Olympics. Goalkeeper Gabby Stone, a two-time All-American, is also back for her senior season with the Cardinal after taking off the 2016 campaign to train with the United States Women’s Senior National Team.

MPSF PICK

Stanford collected 33 points and four first-place votes to top the 2017 MPSF Women’s Water Polo Coaches’ Poll, which was released by the conference on Jan. 4. It’s the third consecutive year and seventh in the last eight that the Cardinal has been the league’s preseason pick. USC was tabbed second with 30 points and one first-place vote, UCLA was third with 28 points and one first-place vote and California was fourth with 23 points and one first-place vote. Arizona State, San Jose State and CSU Bakersfield rounded out the poll in spots five through seven.

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