A weekend road trip for No. 14 Stanford field hockey (8-6, 2-1 America East) came with mixed results, as the Cardinal went 1-1 against conference opponents UC Davis (1-12, 0-2) and No. 35 ranked Cal (8-6, 3-1). The Cardinal cruised to a 5-0 shutout at Davis on Friday afternoon before falling 4-2 to the rival Golden Bears on Sunday.
The Cardinal offense was clicking against an Aggie defense that has struggled throughout this season. Stanford put three goals on the board before the end of the first half, with senior attacker Katie Keyser starting the barrage in the tenth minute as she put in her first goal of the year off a pass from freshman attacker Corinne Zanolli. Ten minutes later, fifth-year senior attacker Kristina Bassi delivered on her fifth goal of the season, receiving a cross pass from senior attacker Marissa Cicione before putting the ball into the left side. Freshman midfielder Frances Carstens chimed in with less than five minutes to go in the frame when she one-timed a corner pass for her first collegiate goal.
Holding a comfortable lead going into the second half, the Cardinal continued putting pressure on UC Davis, outshooting the Aggies 6-1 in the second period. The consistent pressure paid off for Stanford when, only two minutes into the half, freshman defender Sarah Johnson finished on one of Stanford’s 11 offensive corners to bring the lead to 4-0.
In the 55th minute, Cicione deflected a bouncing pass from Johnson for her fourth goal of the season. Cicione was the fifth different Cardinal player to score in the match, as Stanford displayed the depth of its offensive talent against the struggling Aggies.
Stanford’s much anticipated matchup with Cal Berkeley did not produce the same offensive results, as the Cardinal fell to the Golden Bears for the first time since 2015. Stanford remains in second place behind Cal in the America East Conference West Division with just under two weeks of regular season play remaining.
The Golden Bears claimed the first advantage of the day in the tenth minute, with attacker Melina Moore collecting a long pass up the field and sending a strong backhand shot from the left side past sophomore goalkeeper Kelsey Bing. Cal continued to apply offensive pressure as the half progressed, and the Cardinal offense was stymied on two through balls of their own. After holding off two Stanford corner opportunities in quick succession, Cal came down the field to score once again as attacker Megan Rodgers put in an unassisted goal for her fifteenth of the season.
Stanford fought back in the second half, controlling the ball for most of the first fifteen minutes. In the 42nd minute, Zanolli delivered a diving shot to the top shelf off a cross into the circle to break the shutout. The Cardinal had opportunities soon after to tie the game up on consecutive corners, but the Golden Bears defense turned away both tries.
After giving up 12 penalty corners to Michigan last weekend, the Cardinal played much cleaner defense in their defensive circle, only surrendering five total corners in the two games, but Cal’s first and only opportunity proved costly. On the first major Cal offensive rush of the half, the Golden Bears capitalized on a deflection off the corner to bring the game to 3-1. With a two-goal lead, Cal held on to its momentum to control the pace of the game and move the ball around the field.
Off a Cardinal timeout, head coach Tara Danielson subbed out Bing for an extra field player, as sophomore defender Nina Randolph came on for the final seven minutes of play. The field player advantage was short lived, as Rodgers finished on an offensive rush to score the empty net goal, her second of the day.
Stanford continued to work offensively to the end of the match, as it collected on its seventh offensive corner of the afternoon with just over three minutes left to play. Carstens took the insert from Johnson and rocketed a shot to the top corner to record her second goal in two matches and cut the lead to 4-2. The advantage proved insurmountable however, as Cal retained possession for the final minutes of the game to seal the victory and remain in first place in the division.
The Cardinal have three more regular season matches remaining before the America East Championships. Stanford will play its final road game at Pacific next Friday at 3 p.m. before getting the opportunity for a rematch against Cal on Sunday at the Farm. The game will also begin at 3 p.m. and will be streamed live on Pac-12 Networks.
Contact Laura Anderson at lauraand ‘at’ stanford.edu.