Stanford’s Ben Hallock Repeats as MPSF Player of the Year

Courtesy: Mountain Pacific Sports Federation

2019 All-MPSF Men’s Water Polo Selections

2019 MPSF Player of the Year
Stanford redshirt junior Ben Hallock (Studio City, CA/Harvard-Westlake HS) leads the MPSF with 62 goals (3.44 GPG) through the regular season, including a high of 14 over the three conference games. He was named MPSF Player of the Week a conference-high three times this year. Hallock delivered a game-high five goals, along with five field blocks and three drawn exclusions in a 17-11 regular season-ending home win over No. 3 UCLA (Nov. 16), which led to his second weekly award. Hallock put away eight goals and drew five exclusions one week earlier against No. 7 California. The eight-goal outburst tied the all-time MPSF record for a conference game, achieved just one other time in 1996 (Jeff Colyer-Long Beach State). He is the only MPSF player since 2015 to put away eight in a game, also achieving the feat once last year. Last year, Hallock became the first MPSF Water Polo player for either gender to go from a newcomer of the year to player of the year in consecutive seasons. He is the fourth player in MPSF history to repeat as player of the year (Garrett Danner, UCLA-2015-16; Joel Dennerley, USC-2010-11; Tony Azevedo-Stanford, 2001-04), and represents Stanford’s all-time high 11th MPSF Player of the Year award (Hallock-2019, ‘18; Jimmie Sandman-‘08; Tony Azevedo-‘04, ‘03, ‘02, ‘01; Brian Heifferon-‘99; Layne Beaubien-‘98; Brian Wallin-‘96; Wolf Wigo-‘94).

2019 MPSF Newcomer of the Year
California freshman Nikolaos Papanikolaou (Athens, Greece/49th HS of Athens) ranks fourth in the MPSF with 43 goals entering the MPSF Tournament to also lead the freshmen in the conference. Papanikolaou was named MPSF Newcomer of the week twice. He totaled three goals and seven drawn exclusions in a narrow 14-13 outcome against No. 1 USC (Nov. 16), leading to his second honor. His hat trick marked the sixth time this season he has scored three or more goals. His seven drawn exclusions gave him 65 for the season. Papanikolaou led the Bears with eight goals along with 12 drawn exclusions and three steals in four games at the MPSF/SoCal Invitational, which led to his first weekly award on Sept. 30. Papanikolaou, the only freshman to be named to either of the first or second All-MPSF team, is Cal’s fourth MPSF Newcomer of the Year (Johnny Hooper-’15; Luca Cupido-’14; Spencer Warden-‘06).

2019 MPSF Coach of the Year
Stanford head coach John Vargas has guided the Cardinal to a 17-2 (.895) record entering the postseason, and a share of the nation’s No. 1 ranking. Thirteen of Stanford’s 17 wins have been against ranked opponents, nine against the top-10, and five against the top-five. From September 21-October 27, Stanford put together a 2019 MPSF-high 10-game winning streak. The Cardinal earned a conference-high five player of the week awards out of the 11 weeks, and has the top-two scorers in the MPSF entering the postseason (Ben Hallock-62 goals, Tyler Abramson-50 goals). Stanford also placed a high of seven players on the all-conference teams. Vargas is 360-107 overall (.771) since taking over the Cardinal program in 2002. This is the third MPSF Coach of the Year award for Vargas (2019, ’18, ‘04). He is the third to go back-to-back (Jovan Vavic-USC, 2005-06; Terry Schroeder-Pepperdine, 1997-98).

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