Lacrosse gears up for MPSF Tournament semifinals

May 1, 2014, 1:12 a.m.

The Stanford women’s lacrosse team (13-3, 7-2 MPSF) finished its regular season last week with a strong 18-7 victory over the California Golden Bears. However, in order to receive a first-round bye in the six-team conference event, the Cardinal needed Oregon to lose one of their two final games. The Ducks came through with an 11-5 loss to first place Denver (15-1 overall, 8-0 MPSF) and fell again to Colorado on Sunday, solidifying Oregon’s No. 4 MPSF rank.

Junior midfielder Hannah Farr (above)
Junior midfielder Hannah Farr (above) was named MPSF Player of the Year Wednesday after a season in which she led her team in draw controls (39) and ranked second in goals (27). She will be key to the Cardinal’s attack in the MPSF Tournament. (HECTOR GARCIA-MOLINA/

By virtue of Oregon’s losses, Stanford earned a first-round bye in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament and will begin play Friday in the semifinals in Denver. The Card will play the winner of today’s Game 1, which pits No. 3 seed Colorado (10-7, 6-3) against No. 6 seed San Diego State (7-9, 4-5).

Colorado figures to be the more difficult of the two possible opponents. Nonetheless, Stanford recorded a convincing 13-5 win in its last meeting with the Buffs. The Cardinal led for the game’s entirety, taking a season-high 40 shots, with nine players scoring. Junior Hannah Farr scored three, while senior Rachel Ozer and freshman Alex Poplawski netted two apiece.

Last time out against San Diego State, Stanford scored 10 unanswered goals to ultimately win 15-10. Sophomore Lucy Dikeou and freshman Kelsey Murray scored three goals each to lead the offense; Poplawski, Ozer and sophomore midfielder Mackenzie Tesei each added a brace. Farr had a goal and two assists and sophomore midfielder Meg Lentz also found the back of the net.

In their last regular season game, the Cardinal defeated Cal 18-7, using their offensive depth to generate a strong and unpredictable attack. Stanford had nine players score on a total of 35 shots. Farr and Tesei each recorded a hat trick, while senior midfielder Anna Kim, Ozer, Lentz, Murray and sophomore midfielder Paige Southmayd each scored two goals apiece.

On the defensive end, the senior goalie Lyndsey Muñoz tallied seven saves, with classmate and back-line stalwart Meg Lerner earning a ground ball. Due to the strong defensive effort, Stanford was able to control the lead for most of the game.

Stanford has experienced incredible success on the conference level, winning eight of the past nine MPSF tournament titles. Last year, Amy Bokker’s unit defeated Denver 7-6 in the championship game. The tournament winner will earn an automatic spot in the NCAA Tournament.

The Cardinal returned 11 starters and 96 percent of its goals from last season, when the team advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.  Stanford has defeated three top-20 teams this season: a pair of 11-10 victories over No. 6 Notre Dame and No. 14 Georgetown, and an 8-7 triumph against No. 11 Towson.

The key offensive players for the Card in the MPSF Tournament will be Farr, who has a team-best 39 draw controls to go along with 27 goals and just as many ground balls; Ozer, who is tied with Farr for the team lead in goals; Murray with 24 goals and 14 assists; and Poplawski, with 23 goals. All will be pivotal if Stanford is to come away with the MPSF title.

Defensively, the Cardinal will look to Lerner, who has a team-best 30 ground balls and 37 draw controls, and Munoz, who ties Lerner’s team-best 30 ground balls and has 80 saves. These two seniors lead the defense and their performance should be critical to Stanford’s success during the MPSF Tournament slate. Faceoff is at 6 p.m. tomorrow night in Denver.

Contact Kristina Bassi at kbassi ‘at’

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