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Thursday, June 13
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Sophomore uses 'natural gifts' to lead team

Player's explosions on offense include 6-goal outburst

Looking at the box scores of IU's water polo matches this year, one name consistently appears under any offensive category statistic.\nThat name, Kristin Stanford, pops up often, if not after every competition.\nThe 6-foot sophomore from Cincinnati, Ohio, has been a scoring machine since she arrived at IU last year. As a freshman, Stanford led the team with 51 goals on 108 shots, finishing only one goal shy of the team record. She recorded 27 assists and 37 steals, showing a well-rounded game.\n"Kristin came to us last year with limited experience and game sense," coach Barry King said. "But through her great attitude and hard work ethic, she's developed into a good player who creates a lot of our offensive opportunities." \nThis season, Stanford hasn't missed a step. \nDuring the first two tournaments, she netted 11 goals and chipped in with 13 assists. Since then, she has led the team with 39 goals scored and 19 assists. Stanford's top games include a five-goal, two-assist performance against Gannon College and a six-goal outburst against U.C. Santa Cruz.\nKing said Stanford's success can be attributed to genetics and mental toughness.\n"Her size and and being left-handed are natural gifts that make a person a great water polo player," King said. "Being left-handed singles her out because she can play positions and take shots that right-handed players can't." \nHer attitude and know-how help her left-handed ability.\n"But it is her desire to compete that sets her apart," King said. "She self evaluates herself very well and sees things going on during a match and then she adjusts to it."\nStanford's heralded water polo career began during her freshman year at Sycamore High School in Cincinnati. Her list of high school accomplishments is about as long as she is tall: MVP honors, two time All-Ohio selection, an All-American and an All-Greater Miami Conference Academic honor. \nShe doubled as the center for the Sycamore basketball team, something that helped foster her water polo skills.\n"Playing basketball really helped me as a water polo player," Stanford said. "There are a lot of similarities the way the offenses are run and even some defensive strategies."\nStanford has earned the respect of her team mates.\n"Kristin is one of the hardest workers I know," senior Kelly McKay said. "She has been maturing as a player and is able to step up and be a leader. Her offense is great, and she is the one on our team who directs traffic."\nMcKay isn't the only one who admires Stanford. McKay said not only has Stanford's offense been spectacular, but her defense is improving, as well.\n"She is just a really great player," junior Kate McCollum said. "We always look to her to shoot, because she has a great shot."\nStanford's scoring ability has helped the Hoosiers to a No. 17 ranking and a 13-7-1 record, giving her high hopes for her future with the program. \n"I want for us to win the Eastern Championships and qualify for the NCAAs this year and every year for the rest of my time here," Stanford said. "I can see that happening"

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