An otherwise impressive season for Stanford field hockey came to a close in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Saturday morning, as the No. 19 Cardinal fell, 3-1, to No. 2 North Carolina in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Stanford (15-6, 5-1 NorPac) saw action in the NCAA Tournament for the third time in the past four seasons, and has appeared in the tournament 10 times in the program’s history. However, the Cardinal has never won a game in the NCAA Tournament, despite making its first postseason appearance in 1985.
Stanford finished 15-6 overall, including its fourth consecutive championship in the NorPac Tournament.
This year’s 15-win season marks the third-highest win total in school history, with last year’s 17-win record an all-time high.
Saturday’s game against defending NCAA champion North Carolina (20-2, 4-1 ACC) proved tough for the Card.
Jaclyn Radvany broke the ice for North Carolina in the 10th minute, with a follow-up shot after her first attempt hit the crossbar. At 16:09, Marta Malmberg gave the Tar Heels a 2-0 lead, scoring on a penalty corner. Elizabeth Stephens scored seven minutes later for North Carolina off an initial block by Stanford junior goalkeeper Alessandra Moss.
To counter North Carolina’s aggressive attack, Moss had a career-high 17 saves for the game on Saturday, off 25 shots from the Tar Heels.
Scoring slowed in the second half, and Stanford was able to hold the Tar Heels at three until a late push during the last 10 minutes provided a glimmer of hope for the Card.
Senior Katherine Swank scored off an assist by senior Xanthe Travlos at the 62:03 mark, and a few minutes later, an apparent score off a penalty corner offered more hope. Officials disallowed the goal, however, leading to a final score of 3-1.
Swank was the first Stanford player to score in the NCAA Tournament since Melissa Stai’s goal in 2000.
Sophomore Becky Dru, one of Stanford’s top offensive threats, was completely shut down by the Tar Heel defense. Dru powered the Cardinal to its title in the NorPac Tournament, but could not find the net against North Carolina despite leading all Stanford players with three shots. For the season, Dru led the Cardinal in numerous statistical categories, including goals with 13, assists with 10, points with 36 and shots with 88.