In the final weekend series of the regular season, Stanford women’s lacrosse (11-5, 6-2 MPSF) displayed strong play heading into the MPSF championships next week yet split the weekend. The Cardinal started the weekend with a 15-12 loss against No. 8 USC (14-3, 8-0) on Friday before dominating the San Diego State Aztecs (9-7, 3-5) 19-8 behind an 11-goal first half on Sunday.
With a chance to tie conference-leading and undefeated Southern California on Friday, Stanford left it all on the field yet ultimately couldn’t muster enough defense to stop a high-flying Trojan attack despite a great game from junior goalie Allie DaCar, who finished the match with 11 saves.
The Cardinal broke their recent mold of sluggish starts by dashing out to a 2-0 lead in the first ten minutes of the match behind a pair of early goals from junior Kelly Myers. DaCar picked up three of her six first-half saves in the 10-minute opening period that seemingly went all Stanford.
The good start didn’t last long, however, as Southern California went on a five-goal streak — four of which came from senior offensive generator Michaela Michael — to grab the lead, which the team held for the rest of the game.
While a number of different Cardinal attackers scored on the night, USC had answers for every attempt at a comeback rally from Stanford, which both evened the score late in the first half and then brought the margin within one goal early in the second half. Ultimately, another five-goal run from USC in the middle 10 minutes of the second half cemented the Trojan victory.
Trojan team-leader Michael finished the match with an astounding 12 shots on goal, with five finding the back of the net to lead all players on the night.
Stanford was led by a pair of junior hat-trick heroes Myers and Maggie Nick, with Nick matching her career-best on the season. While the two juniors led the way for the Cardinal, a total of six different Stanford players found the back of the net on Friday.
Sunday’s match brought different fortunes for the Cardinal, which started the scoring less than four minutes into the affair against the Aztecs and never looked back. Fifth-year senior Anna Salemo slotted home a nice assist from senior Kelsey Murray for the first goal of an 11-goal first half.
After playing a nationally ranked team in USC, Stanford put on an offensive showing on Sunday against a much less stubborn Aztec defense that allowed a total 35 shots throughout the match. Defensively, the Cardinal forced 12 turnovers en route to holding the Aztecs to only 13 shots on goal.
Instead of relying on a pair of junior attackers as on Friday, Stanford once again was led by seniors Murray and Elizabeth Cusick, who both scored four goals to power the Cardinal. Murray also added three assists to her season tally, bringing her season points tally to team-leading 76.
Murray ended her three-game streak of at least five goals against the stronger Trojan defense, yet Murray’s weekend performance saw her both tie and then break Stanford’s all-time career points record of 207 previously set by Cardinal legend Megan Burker.
With the weekend, Stanford secured the No. 3 seed in the upcoming MPSF championships next week in Los Angeles, California. The Cardinal will hope to repeat success when they take on Bay Area rival Cal (5-12, 2-6) in a rematch of last week’s Stanford victory.
Contact Lorenzo Rosas at enzor9 ‘at’ stanford.edu.