After graduating just two seniors and adding a talented group of nine freshmen and one transfer, the Stanford lacrosse team is poised to improve on its record-setting 2013 season.
Last year, the Cardinal stormed to its eighth MPSF tournament title in nine years, capped off by a 7-6 win over Denver in the final. The team followed up that effort with a thrilling last-second upset of Notre Dame to capture the first NCAA Tournament victory in program history. The season came to an end with a 15-8 loss to eventual semifinalist Northwestern in the second round of the tournament.
The Cardinal will kick off the 2014 campaign with a game against Ohio State at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Last season, Stanford traveled to Ohio and battled both the Buckeyes and the March elements to bring back a 12-10 win.
The Stanford starting lineup will be familiar to Cardinal fans, as 11 of 12 starters return from a year ago. Senior goalkeeper Lyndsey Munoz will hold down the fort in net for the third consecutive season. Last year, Munoz posted a 10.77 goals against average and was named to the MPSF all-tournament team.
In front of Munoz, first-team All-MPSF selection Meg Lerner will be expected to lead the defense once again. The senior set a single-season record by collecting 63 draw controls last year and also led the Cardinal in caused turnovers, with 25. Junior Rachel Kalick and senior Nina Swanson, both of whom started every game last year, also return to give Stanford a veteran core at the defensive end of the field.
On attack, the Card returns 96 percent of its goal-scoring from a year ago, including first-team All-MPSF selections Rachel Ozer and Anna Kim.
Ozer led Stanford with 48 goals and 24 assists last year after missing most of the 2012 season with an injury. Kim was named to the Tewaarton Award watch list after tallying 32 goals, 11 assists and 56 draw controls last season.
The team’s fourth first-team MPSF selection, Hannah Farr, will start again in the midfield, while fellow juniors Kyle Fraser and Meredith Kalinowski will once again add additional dimensions to the attack. Farr, who also plays for the women’s soccer team, scored with four seconds remaining to knock off Notre Dame in Stanford’s historic NCAA tournament win last year.
In addition to its upperclassmen leaders, the Card will look for its sophomore class to step up after making heavy contributions as freshmen last year. Second-team all-MPSF selection Lucy Dikeou returns on attack alongside Julia Burns, who was the team’s second-leading scorer a year ago. Adrienne Anderson, Meg Lentz, Paige Southmayd and Mackenzie Tesei will also be expected to improve in their second years.
Sophomore Alexandra Crerend also presents an intriguing option for head coach Amy Bokker. In 2012, Crerend led the Brown women’s lacrosse team with 24 goals before taking a year off and then transferring to Stanford. Along with Crerend, nine freshmen will make their Cardinal debuts this weekend.
Following the Ohio State game, the Card will have two more out-of-conference matchups against Harvard and Vanderbilt, both at home, before opening MPSF play with a game at Fresno State on March 5.
Contact Jana Persky at jpersky ‘at’ stanford.edu.