Despite building an early lead against No. 11 Vanderbilt on Saturday, the No. 16 Stanford women’s lacrosse team (1-4) could not hold its early momentum and fell 15-9 to continue its early season struggles. The team had hoped to carry its momentum off its thrilling first win of the season, but the strength and speed of the Commodore offense eventually overpowered the Cardinal.
The first half opened with a strong and balanced showing by Stanford on both sides of the field. Seniors Catherine Swanson and Emilie Boeri both scored within the first 10 minutes, setting the tone for a period of offensive dominance. Boeri then assisted the Card’s next two goals, one by freshmen Emily Newstrom and another by her sister, senior Anna Boeri.
Stanford held the advantage in possession in the first half, due in part to a strong showing by the Cardinal defense. Led by junior Elizabeth Adam and sophomore goalkeeper Lyndsey Muñoz, the backfield held the usually explosive Vanderbilt attack to just three goals. Going into the break, Stanford led 6-3 and showed no signs of slowing down.
However, the Commodores’ offense finally awoke and tied the score 6-6 within the first two minutes of the second period. Freshman Kyle Frasier responded with her second goal of the game to push the Card up by one, but it would be the team’s last lead of the game. Vanderbilt scored its next three goals in under a minute, and while Newstrom’s second goal of the game a few minutes later pushed Stanford within one, that was as close as the Cardinal would get for the rest of the game.
Vanderbilt went on four three-goal runs to outscore Stanford 12-3 in the second period. The Commodores ran a fast-paced attack and dominated possession, which prevented the Cardinal from holding the ball long enough to mount a comeback. Vanderbilt’s edge in draw control proved crucial and allowed it to score multiple goals in the span of a few minutes.
“I think our biggest struggle right now is the transition,” Muñoz said. “This is where most of our turnovers are coming from, and this causes unsettled play for our defense. In the second half, the turnovers in transition are what led to Vanderbilt’s goals and shifted momentum for the game.”
While another loss in the early season was a frustrating result, perhaps part of the problem was that the Cardinal was without one of its leading scorers, sophomore Anna Kim, who dislocated her shoulder last weekend when she scored the game-winning goal in the final seconds against James Madison. The offense did receive a boost from freshmen Frasier and Newstrom, who combined for four goals, a good sign that the youthful team has potential for future development. Although the team eventually lost its lead, this was the first game in which Stanford did not trail at the break.
While the 1-4 record against top-20 teams is not where the Cardinal would like to be, it now heads into its first contest against an unranked team with a chance to regain its feet.
“When we work as hard as we possibly can, the wins will come,” Muñoz said. “Yes, unfortunately we’re 1-4 right now but I know if we keep working hard we’ll start to win. I also think it’s good that we’re starting our season with such tough competition, and it will prepare us not only for conference play, but for the NCAA tournament as well.”
Sunday’s game against New Hampshire is the last at Cagan Stadium until April 13. The team will then travel east to face Brown, Harvard and Albany before conference play begins April 3 at Fresno State.