W. Lacrosse: Weekend split keeps Card’s tourney hopes alive

April 18, 2012, 1:33 a.m.

The Stanford women’s lacrosse team found itself in a familiar situation against San Diego State on Sunday afternoon. After blowing a four-goal lead in the first half, the Cardinal (4-9, 2-2 MPSF) trailed the Aztecs 11-8 with 15 minutes remaining. But unlike many of its previous come-from-behind attempts, the Card successfully pulled off the rally to handily defeat San Diego State 17-11. The win was a welcome jolt of momentum after a disappointing 13-7 loss to Oregon just two days prior.

Senior Catherine Swanson began the scoring early, finding the net less than 40 seconds into the game. Stanford held a comfortable lead at the game’s 10-minute mark, but San Diego State fought back to score four unanswered goals and take a 7-6 lead at the period’s end.

Freshmen Hannah Farr and Emily Newstrom both scored to tie the game at 8-8, but the Aztecs answered again to make it 11-8. Stanford’s offense roared back in the final 15 minutes, led by sophomore Anna Kim, Newstrom and senior Emilie Boeri, ensuring that the Cardinal would avoid an upset by a San Diego State program in its first year of existence.

The Cardinal dominated the second period and outshot the Aztecs 18-6. The team also played a much cleaner game, committing five fewer fouls and six fewer turnovers than San Diego State. Kim, in just her second game back after being sidelined with an injury since Feb. 25, led the offense with eight goals in the game, including four in the final 15 minutes.

On Friday, however, the Cardinal could not give Oregon its first conference loss, and the Ducks remained tied with Denver for the No. 1 seed in the MPSF standings. Stanford once again outshot its opponent, but it could not find the back of the net. Kim scored twice and provided one assist in her first game back since the injury, but it was not enough to overcome the strength of an Oregon team with just three losses on the season.

Sunday’s win pushed the Cardinal up to No. 4 in the conference standings, leaving it little room for error in the remainder of its games. Only the top four teams in the conference qualify for the MPSF tournament, and Stanford has not lost the championship in seven seasons. If the Card can maintain the momentum from its latest win, it is not impossible to think that it can extend the streak to eight. The offensive strength of the freshmen, who combined for 10 of 17 goals on Sunday, as well as the return of Kim, have greatly improved the team’s chances of postseason success.

While the season has certainly been disappointing, it is still not over. The Cardinal has the chance to finish the season 7-9 if it wins its final three conference games. However, as it heads into its last regular-season games, the players are trying not to think too far ahead.

“I think what the team is most looking forward to down the line is just trying to win our next game,” said sophomore goalkeeper Lyndsey Muñoz. “In this sport you can’t think too much about the future, even though it is an exciting one. Obviously the ultimate goal is the NCAA championship, but there is a lot of lacrosse to be played until then.”

Next up, the Cardinal travels to play at UC-Davis tonight at 7 p.m.

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