Stanford men's water polo a work in progress

Blake Parrish scored four goals against the Spartans. Photo by Al Chang/Stanford Athletics.

Stanford men's water polo coach John Vargas is not going to worry about a couple of early losses to a couple of top-ranked teams.

It's more like the early rounds of a heavyweight boxing match, when opponents are judging and getting judged.

Ben Hallock
The real battle comes in November, when Stanford hosts the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament with a berth in the NCAA tournament at stake.

"We haven't been to the tournament the last couple of years and we're still learning how to compete with the best teams," Vargas said. "We've seen USC and we've seen Cal. We have a better understanding of ourselves as a result."

That was clear Saturday, when No. 4 Stanford dismantled visiting San Jose State, 16-5, behind six goals from redshirt freshman Ben Hallock in his Stanford home debut, and four more from Blake Parrish in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation contest.

Stanford's passing was a little crisper and Hallock showed why he was the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic team in Rio.

Hallock is a throwback at the two-meter position and that's a good thing. In recent years, the man in the hole has become less effective as an offensive weapon.

In Hallock's case, it's swiftly becoming an instrumental part of the Cardinal offense.

Hallock has all the necessary tools that helped him become one of the nation's top high school players and earned him a spot on the senior national team.

The Spartans were helpless against him. Not only did he create multiple scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates but he drew ejections and converted four penalty shots.

The Cardinal (7-3) scored the first eight goals of the match, with Hallock netting four of those scores.

Hallock added his fifth and sixth score of the match in the first three minutes of the second half as the Cardinal stretched its lead to 10-2.

Parrish recorded his fourth hat trick of the year, with four goals in the match. He capped his scoring with a goal in the final minute of the third quarter, taking a feed from Mitchell Mendoza and firing it into the back of the cage.

Jackson Kimbell and Dylan Woodhead each added a pair of goals and Reid Chase and Cody Smith also added goals.

Meanwhile, senior Drew Holland made several nice stops in goal for Stanford, finishing with 10 saves in the first three quarters of the match.

Sophomore Andrew Chun, who had his own personal rooting section, took over in the final quarter, recording four saves.

— Rick Eymer/Palo Alto Online Sports

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