The No. 6 Stanford women’s lacrosse team lost its third-straight game on Sunday, falling 17-14 to No. 20 Notre Dame. This loss forced the Cardinal into unfamiliar territory; it has already matched its loss total from last season just three games in.
The Irish opened the game strong, and within 10 minutes they were ahead 7-2. However, the Cardinal did respond offensively to stay in the game. Senior Emilie Boeri finished the period with two goals, one off an assist from her sister, Anna, who scored the team’s first goal and would finish the game with a hat trick. Sophomore Anna Kim also scored a hat trick, and two of the goals came before the break. Stanford, who has yet to lead in any of its games, began the second period trailing 12-7.
Again, Notre Dame began the period on attack and lead 14-8 after the first eight minutes. Even though the last 20 minutes belonged to the Stanford offense, the Cardinal again fell short despite outplaying its opponent. Stanford outscored the Irish 6-3 with goals from freshmen Rachel Hinds and Kyle Fraser, sophomore Rachel Ozer and one each from Kim and Anna Boeri to complete their hat tricks. The team also outshot Notre Dame 16-12 and won 10 of 13 draw controls in the second period. Even with that offensive domination, the Cardinal only came within two goals before eventually losing by three.
Sophomore Lyndsey Muñoz had a career-high 17 saves, and the Cardinal defense combined for a total of 23 ground balls. Notre Dame only outshot Stanford by two, but its early lead allowed it to hold on despite the Cardinal’s late rally. However, Stanford turned the ball over 26 times, mistakes the Irish capitalized on. As it heads into its matchup against No. 9 James Madison, its fourth-straight game against a ranked opponent, the Cardinal must clean up its play in a hurry.
While the record clearly does not reflect the level of play the team is used to, it is still early on in the season. In what many consider to be a rebuilding year, the Cardinal has already seen many underclassmen step up. Four freshmen scored in Sunday’s game, and they also provided two assists. The offense, led by the Boeri twins, Kim and senior Catherine Swanson, has proved it can be a force to be reckoned with. Muñoz has continuously kept the games as close as possible and makes more saves with every passing game.
The Cardinal cannot afford to let its opponents take early leads. The last two games have shown that a late comeback bid is not enough to overcome the damage from the first period. Saturday’s game against the Dukes will be another tough one, but Stanford can build off its strong finish against Notre Dame in hopes of securing its first win.