By Andrew Tan
No. 18 Stanford women’s lacrosse opens its season account against No. 19 Denver tonight at Cagan Stadium, ready to defend its title as Pac-12 conference championships in the second year since the conference’s formation. The opener will serve as a barometer of the Cardinal’s play exactly a month before conference play begins.
The Cardinal have lost their last two matchups against the Pioneers, including last year’s season opener in the Mile High City by a score of 12-9. Still, Stanford holds the all-time advantage against Denver with an 18-10 overall record. Though unknown in virtually every other sport, Denver is no pushover when it comes to lacrosse. Ranked only one spot behind Stanford in the preseason, Denver was also predicted to finish first in the 2019 BIG EAST preseason poll. The Pioneers also advanced further in the NCAA tournament than the Cardinal last year, making it to the second round compared to Stanford’s first round exit.
Last year, Stanford acquitted themselves well in competition against other top-ranked teams, finishing with a 5-4 record against other teams ranked in the top 25. The Cardinal went on a tear at the end of the 2018 season, winning 13 of their last 15, with losses only to Colorado and Stony Brook. Now the team hopes to live up to lofty preseason expectations with five of six Pac-12 coaches selecting Stanford to finish first in the conference.
After a quick tune-up against Team USA in the preseason, newly appointed captains senior Julia Massaro, junior Daniella McMahon, junior Mikaela Watson and sophomore Taylor Scornavacco are ready to lead the team to a successful season, building off last year’s results. Confident in her four team captains, head coach Amy Bokker said, “They represent all the leadership qualities that our team values — confidence, authenticity, caring and passion — and are committed to carrying out the culture and leadership put in place by those before them.”
The Cardinal look to get off to a quick start following a lengthy preseason. The first draw control of the season is set for 6 p.m. at Cagan Field.
Contact Andrew Tan at tandrew ‘at’ stanford.edu.