Women's Water Polo

2024: Season in Review

Final Results Opens in a new window

STANFORD, Calif. - No. 4 Stanford (19-7, 4-2 MPSF) maintained its standing among the nation's elite, producing an NCAA semifinal finish while extending its streak as the only program to have participated at every NCAA Championship since the event's inception in 2001. The Cardinal, which fell short in its bid for an NCAA three-peat, was ranked as high as No. 3 during the season and nearly reached its 13th NCAA final in 14 seasons. Multiple players adjusted to new roles or emerged as team leaders, eclipsing their 2023 production while helping establish an identity for a new-look roster offsetting the loss of three All-Americans during an Olympic year.

Olympic Year Roll CallFive Stanford players took a leave of absence and redshirt year in 2024 while training and competing with their respective national teams in preparation for the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics.

Redshirt sophomore Jenna Flynn (San Jose, Calif.), redshirt senior Ryann Neushul (Goleta, Calif.), redshirt senior Jewel Roemer (Martinez, Calif.) and redshirt sophomore Ella Woodhead (San Rafael, Calif.) trained with Team USA while redshirt freshman Serena Browne (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) competed for Canada.

Stanford has produced 14 Olympians in school history, including a program-best six participants at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Continued Success Against USC, Cal

The Cardinal continued its success against two of its most notable rivals, sweeping four meetings against USC while collecting two more wins against California.

Improving to 4-0 in a season against the Trojans for the first time since 2011, Stanford has won six straight and 10 of the last 12 against USC in a matchup of powerhouses that have combined to win 13 of the last 14 NCAA titles. Six of Stanford's last 10 wins against USC have resulted in a tournament title (2 NCAA, 2 MPSF, 2 Barbara Kalbus Invitational).

Even with a rare split of the season series with the Golden Bears in 2024, Stanford still owns the upper hand against Cal, winning 20 of the last 24 matchups dating back to 2016.

Sophie's Stellar Season

Sophie Wallace enjoyed a breakthrough season, returning for a fifth year to provide veteran leadership and help stabilize an inexperienced roster.

Wallace, who appeared in all 113 games over five seasons, was named to the All-MPSF First Team for the first all-conference honor of her career while leading the Cardinal in goals (54), assists (36), points (90), shots (148) and multi-goal games (18).

Wallace, who was the Cardinal's leading scorer in six games while matching her career high of five goals twice, also earned spots on the NCAA All-Tournament First Team and MPSF All-Tournament Team.

Boasting a 3.91 GPA as a Science, Technology & Society major, Wallace was also competing her Masters in Sustainability and was the Cardinal's NCAA Elite 90 Award nominee. 

Making An Impact

Several Cardinal players took advantage of the increased playing time in 2024, shattering their previous season-high offensive marks.
- Maggie Hawkins in 2024 (30 goals, 12 assists, 79 shots, 8 multi-goal games) ... in 2023 (17 goals, 3 assists, 28 shots, 6 multi-goal games)
- Christina Hicks in 2024 (47 goals, 3 assists, 102 shots, 11 multi-goal games) ... in 2023 (10 goals, 6 assists, 24 shots, 3 multi-goal games)
- Sophia Sanders in 2024 (44 goals, 19 assists, 110 shots, 15 multi-goal games) ... in 2023 (4 goals, 4 assists, 18 shots, 0 multi-goal games)
- Sophie Wallace in 2024 (54 goals, 36 assists, 148 shots, 18 multi-goal games) ... in 2023 (28 goals, 10 assists, 54 shots, 8 multi-goal games)

Avital Anchors Defense

Stanford was also anchored by one of the nation's top goalkeepers in two-time ACWPC All-American Maya Avital, who closed out her career ranking second in program history with 613 saves behind Meridith McColl (715).

Avital finished with 203 saves in 2024, good for sixth on the all-time single-season list and giving her three entries among the top-10 (210 saves in 2022 ranking fifth, 189 saves in 2023 ranking ninth). 

She finished with at least 10 saves in 11 games, including a career-high 18 stops against Indiana on April 26 in the MPSF Championship.

Avital also saved her best in matchups against Cal, totaling 116 saves in 10 career games while posting a 7-3 record in the cage and averaging 11.6 stops per contest.

Four All-MPSF Honorees

Sophie Wallace (first team), Christina Hicks (second team), Maggie Hawkins (honorable mention) and Kamryn Barone (all-newcomer team) were named All-MPSF selections, as the Cardinal was awarded at least four all-conference recipients for the sixth straight season.

Barone was impressive in her debut, ranking second on the team in assists (24) and fourth in goals (38), shots (84) and multi-goal games (9) while playing in all 26 games.

Senior Salute

Stanford's six-member senior class of Maya Avital, Christina Hicks, Skyler Jones, Sam Sternfels, Celeste Wijnbelt and Talie Wilmans compiled an 81-16 overall record and 22-8 MPSF record since its first season together in 2021.

All six players were two-time NCAA champions (2022-23) and two-time MPSF champions (2022-23).

The Cardinal seniors also finished with a 28-4 record in games played at Avery Aquatic Center.

Tanner Concludes 27th Season

In 27 seasons, head coach John Tanner has compiled a 641-96 overall record while directing the Cardinal to 23 all-time NCAA appearances, nine NCAA titles (2023, 2022, 2019, 2017, 2015, 2014, 2012, 2011, 2002) and nine national runner-ups.

An eight-time ACWPC Coach of the Year and six-time MPSF Coach of the Year, Tanner picked up his 600th career victory in Stanford's 25-8 win over Fresno State on Jan. 28, 2023.