Bears claw past Stanford men in MPSF water polo tourney

Connor Stapleton scored twice for Stanford in an 11-9 loss to California. Photo by Bob Drebin/

In a seesaw battle with yet another top ranked team, No. 3 Stanford men's water polo dropped an 11-9 decision to No. 1 California in the third-place match of the Mountain Pacific Invitational Sunday afternoon at Uytengsu Aquatic Center.

The Bears (11-1) took the early advantage, scoring the first three goals of the contest. The Cardinal (6-3) quickly erased that deficit with goals from seniors San Pfeil and Connor Stapleton, and junior Harrison Enright, a graduate of Sacred Heart Prep.

Harrison Enright
The Cardinal continued its momentum, scoring five of the final six goals of the half to take a 5-4 lead into the break.

A Cardinal final-minute flurry included a goal from senior Cody Smith with 50 seconds remaining and a score from senior Reid Chase with two seconds left in the half.

Stanford trailed for the first 15:58 of the half, but went into the break up a goal with the late scoring barrage.

Cal seized the momentum in the second half, scoring four of the first five goals of the third quarter to go ahead, 8-6, late in the third period.

The Cardinal cut it its deficit to one goal as freshman Ben Hallock found the back of the cage in the final minutes of the third quarter.

The Bears, however, countered with two goals of their own to extend their lead to 9-7 with four minutes to play.

Sophomore Bennett Williams recorded a pair of scores in the final 2:06, but Stanford could not get any closer as Cal added a score of its own during the span to earn the 11-9 victory.

Both goalies were tested throughout the contest. Cardinal goalie Drew Holland posted his third consecutive double-digit save performance with 11 stops. Cal's Kevin Le Vine registered 10 saves for the Bears.

Stanford hosts San Jose State Saturday at 11 a.m., giving football fans a chance to see one of the best teams in the nation, in its home opener at Avery Aquatic Center.

— Stanford Athletics

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