Stanford roundup: Cardinal women earn top seed for NCAA polo | May 2, 2014 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - May 2, 2014

Stanford roundup: Cardinal women earn top seed for NCAA polo

Farr is named Player of the Year in MPSF women's lacrosse; Kosty receives MPSF Coach of the Year honor for men's volleyball

The top-ranked Stanford women's water polo team will have the top seed of the upcoming NCAA tournament, which opens May 9, at USC's Uytengsu Aquatics Center. The Cardinal (22-1) won the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament last weekend to earn the automatic bid.

Stanford will meet the winner of No. 8 seed Indiana, the CWPA champion, and No. 9 seed Wagner, the MAAC champion. They face off in a play-in game Saturday.

The Cardinal, the only program to have qualified for all 14 NCAA water polo tournaments since the event's inception in 2001, is looking for its fourth national title. Stanford previously won titles in 2002, 2011 and 2012.

Including Stanford, five MPSF teams made it into the 10-team field. UCLA, USC, California and Arizona State claimed the second through fifth seeds, respectively, with Big West champion UC Irvine being named the No. 6 seed.

The Cardinal is 13-1 against the field, with the lone loss to the Bruins.

The top six seeds all advance to the tournament proper from May 9-11, and will be joined by the two play-in game winners. In addition to Indiana-Wagner, No. 7 UC San Diego will face No. 10 Pomona-Pitzer.

UCLA takes on the winner of the UC San Diego/Pomona-Pitzer contest next Friday at noon. USC and UC Irvine will face off at 1:45 p.m., with Stanford playing at 3:30 and California taking on Arizona State at 5:15 p.m.

Stanford has faced Wagner once before in NCAA championship action, defeating the Seahawks 25-8 in the 2007 first round, and has never faced Indiana at the event.

Earlier this week, seven Stanford players were rewarded for their standout season. Annika Dries, Kiley Neushul and Maggie Steffens were named to the All-MPSF first team on Tuesday.

Cardinal driver Kaley Dodson earned a spot on the second team, goalie Gabby Stone and Ashley Grossman were each named honorable mention, and freshman driver Jamie Neushul was tabbed for the All-Newcomer Team.

Stanford most recently captured its fifth MPSF Championship crown, and first since 2006, this past Sunday with a 6-5 victory over No. 2 UCLA. Steffens led the Cardinal with six goals over its two MPSF Championship wins while Kiley Neushul netted four.

Women's lacrosse

Hannah Farr, a junior two-sport athlete at Stanford, on Wednesday became the first California native to be named women's lacrosse Player of the Year by the MPSF.

Farr, a graduate of St. Ignatius, also plays soccer for the Cardinal and was a member of the 2011 NCAA championship soccer team. She was selected lacrosse Player of the Year by conference coaches after leading Stanford to a 13-3 regular-season record and a No. 2 seed in the MPSF tournament, which began Thursday.

Farr leads the Cardinal in draw controls (39), shares the lead in goals (27), and ranks third on the team in assists (8), points (35), and ground balls (27). She is one of two Stanford players among the team's top five in goals, assists, points, ground balls, draws, and caused turnovers.


The Stanford men and women have something in common as both will compete in their respective NCAA tournaments beginning next week. The Cardinal women, however, will open at home while the men will have to hit the road for the second straight year.

The defending NCAA champion Stanford women (16-2) will be making their 33rd consecutive postseason appearance when first-round competition gets underway at campus sites. The Cardinal was awarded the No. 11 overall seed in the postseason draw and will host Quinnipiac (13-10) in its NCAA Tournament opener.

Taube Family Tennis Stadium will play host to NCAA first- and second-round competition on May 9-10.

In the first round, Tulsa (17-5) faces Long Beach State (20-2) at 11 a.m., and Stanford takes on Quinnipiac at 2 p.m. On May 10, the first-round winners will meet at 1 p.m.

The Cardinal women also will be well-represented among the singles and doubles selections for NCAA as the singles draw includes the entire six-member lineup of Kristie Ahn, Taylor Davidson, Caroline Doyle, Krista Hardebeck, Ellen Tsay and Carol Zhao earning an at-large spot in the field. In doubles, Stanford's top team of Ahn and Zhao made the cut as an at-large duo.

Meanwhile, the Stanford men (14-5) will be making their 35th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance. The Cardinal is headed to Waco, Texas, and will square off against Tulsa (15-12) in its opener. Host Baylor (23-5) faces Texas A&M Corpus-Christi (19-9, 6-0 Southland) in the other first-round match.

The final 16 teams in both the men's and women's tourneys will square off at the NCAA Tennis Championships, hosted by the University of Georgia in Athens beginning May 15. The national championship matches are set for May 20.

Men's volleyball

Stanford's John Kosty has been named the 2014 MPSF Coach of the Year, the organization announced Wednesday. He also took home the honor in 2010 when he led the Cardinal to the program's second national title.

Kosty has guided the 2014 Stanford team to a 23-8 season record (.742) entering the NCAA Tournament, where the team is two wins from a third national championship.

Stanford, which is in the NCAA semifinals for the first time since 2010, overcame a rocky 6-7 start to the season by going on a conference-best 13-match winning streak to reach the finals of the MPSF tournament. During that stretch, Stanford defeated nine top-10 teams, including six which were ranked in the top 6.

Entering the national semifinals this Thursday, Stanford owns the second-best team hitting percentage in the nation and is tops in the MPSF at .337, while allowing its opponents to hit just .233. The Cardinal also ranks in the top five nationally in assists (3rd), kills (4th) and digs (5th).

Nationally No. 3-seeded Stanford took on No. 2 seed BYU in the NCAA semifinals on Thursday in Chicago.


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