Stanford's Bonanni breaks legendary polo scoring record


Bret Bonanni has secured his place in Stanford men's water polo history.

The Cardinal senior leader scored six goals to lead No. 5 Stanford to a 12-8 victory over No. 8 Long Beach State Saturday afternoon at the Campus Pool in Long Beach. In the process, Bonanni became the Stanford and Mountain Pacific Sports Federation all-time scoring leader. With his total on Saturday, he has 337 career goals, moving ahead of Cardinal legend Tony Azevedo (332 goals from 2001-04).

"I definitely couldn't have accomplished this honor without my teammates," Bonanni said. "This record is a tribute to all the great players I've played with at my time here at Stanford. Tony was my Idol when I started playing and still is today. With all of the things he has accomplished and everything he has done within our sport, it's an honor to be noted as even remotely close to his caliber of play."

Bonanni, who entered Saturday's contest one goal shy of Azevedo's career record, got started early with his first score just over two minutes into the contest to give Stanford a 2-0 lead.

Long Beach State (1-5, 9-12 MPSF) responded with three straight goals over the next three minutes to surge ahead of the Cardinal, 3-2 toward the end of the first quarter.

With the score tied at 4-4 with 2:09 remaining in the second quarter, Bonanni made history. He rocketed a shot that bounced off the far post and into the cage for his 333rd career goal to put Stanford ahead and the Cardinal (17-6, 3-3 MPSF) never looked back en route to the four-goal victory.

Senior B.J. Churnside opened the second half with a goal and Bonanni added two more scores in the third quarter to give Stanford an 8-7 lead heading into the final period.

The seniors each added a goal to open the fourth, and junior Connor Stapleton capped the Cardinal's three-goal run to extend its lead to 11-7 with 1:34 to play.

Bonanni recorded his sixth goal of the contest with 19 seconds left as Stanford recorded the 12-8 victory.

Junior goalie Drew Holland matched his season high with 13 saves in the contest.

After concluding his junior season with a conference-leading 96 goals, Bonanni has a team-leading 71 goals in Stanford's 23 games this year. The senior recorded a career-best nine goals in the season-opening victory over MIT on Sept. 5. Bonanni is the only Cardinal in history to post multiple 90-goal seasons. He has scored in 22 of Stanford's 23 games with multiple goals in 18 contests this season. He has recorded 88 career multiple goal games and 64 career hat tricks.

Stanford returns to action Sunday as the Cardinal travels to take on UC Irvine at noon.

— Stanford Athletics

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