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May 11, 2012

Top Ranked Stanford Pulls Past Pomona-Pitzer

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San Diego, Calif. – Victoria Kennedy led a balanced offense with four goals as the top-ranked Stanford Water Polo Team defeated Pomona-Pitzer in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Women's Water Polo Championships 17-5 on Friday afternoon at San Diego State's Aztec Aquaplex.

With the loss, the Sagehens fall to 21-17 and will meet the loser of the second quarterfinal between Loyola Marymount and UC Irvine tomorrow at 1:45 p.m. Stanford advances to the semifinals against the Loyola Marymount-UC Irvine winner.

Despite the loss, there were plenty of bright spots for the Sagehens, which lost 23-3 in the quarterfinals in their last appearance two years ago. The team's two senior co-captains combined for three goals, with Annie Oxborough-Yankus (Wallingford, Conn.) scoring twice, including one on Pomona-Pitzer's first offensive possession, and Perri Hopkins (Agoura, Calif.) adding another.

(pictured is Hopkins' goal on a counter-attack in the fourth quarter)

In addition, freshman Sarah Westcott (Menlo Park, Calif.), who attended Sacred Heart Prep in Atherton three miles from Stanford's campus had a goal, and San Diego native Mahalia Prater-Fahey (San Diego, Calif.) added one in her homecoming back to San Diego after giving the Sagehens the automatic bid with a game-winner in triple overtime in the SCIAC championship game. Freshman goalie Sallie Walecka, a native of Palo Alto, also had seven second half saves in relied, stopping two breakaways from Stanford.

The outcome was never in much doubt, although Pomona-Pitzer nearly took a 2-1 lead in the first quarter as Westcott hit the post after Oxborough-Yankus had tied the score 1-1 just a minute into the game. Stanford, though, scored the next six goals, the last two coming from Kennedy, before Westcott ended the drought with 5:39 left in the second quarter to make the score 7-2.

Stanford built their lead to 10-2 at the half and led 14-3 after three quarters, with Oxborough-Yankus scoring from long range in the third to provide the Sagehens their third goal. The Cardinal outscored Pomona-Pitzer 3-2 in the fourth, although Hopkins leaked behind the defense for a counter-attack goal with 4:54 left and Prater-Fahey followed with a goal 50 seconds later to make the score 15-5.  

In addition to Kennedy's four goals, Alyssa Lo and Pallavi Menon had three apiece, and Kaley Dodson added two. Sarah Tuggy (Los Angeles, Calif.) had three first-half saves for Pomona-Pitzer before Walecka came on in relief and had seven in the second half.

The Sagehens are making their fourth NCAA appearance in the last six years, earning the SCIAC's automatic bid each time.