By Andrew Tan
No. 21 Stanford women’s lacrosse (2-1, 0-0 PAC-12) took advantage of a rare sunny day on Sunday afternoon by turning up the heat on UC Davis (2-4, 1-1 MPSF) for a 19-10 victory. After a tough opening night loss to No. 13 Denver, the Cardinal has rebounded with two consecutive wins against unranked opponents to close out a three-game homestand and move above .500 for the first time in the young season.
Stanford clobbered the Aggies on the scoreboard, but its effort was by no means without toil. Davis scored the first goal and looked to stage an early ambush on the Cardinal that might fuel an upset against its fellow Californians. This initial burst inspired Aggie fans to rally behind their team for the game’s first moments, but produced little effect on the field.
Stanford was the Khaleesi and Davis was the warlock in Qarth who attempted to steal her dragons. The Cardinal would sooner burn the Aggies to the ground before allowing them to control the game.
Sure enough, the Aggies’ capture of an early lead kindled a fire in the Cardinal that led to four straight goals including one from senior Areta Buness, one from junior Julia Persche and two from sophomore Ali Baiocco.
Buness put the Cardinal on the scoreboard before Baiocco picked the pocket of the Davis goalkeeper for another. Once the Cardinal had snatched momentum back, the door was open for Persche to fire a skip-shot into goal and give the media crew an excuse to play the best goal song of those on the Cardinal roster: “This is Me” by Demi Lovato from the Disney Channel movie “Camp Rock.” A couple minutes later, Baiocco slotted in another and the rout was on.
Davis would score a second goal to end the consecutive goal streak for the Cardinal, but only for Stanford to score two more in response. Buness scored her second and junior captain Mikaela Watson recorded her first of three with a shake and bake move that left her defender frozen and bewildered like Han Solo stuck in carbonite.
With 18 minutes remaining in the first half and Stanford up 6-2, junior captain Daniella McMahon received her second yellow card of the game, fouling out and adding some doubt to what was turning into a runaway victory.
Down a player for a couple minutes and now missing one of the team’s leaders, Stanford remained undeterred and scored two more quick goals — a second from Watson and the first career goal for freshman Caitlin Chicoski.
In the last ten minutes of the first half, each time Davis scored a goal, Stanford responded with three. The highlight of these six scores for the Cardinal was the closing goal of the half, scored by Galen Lew, where Lew made a move on her defender that could be aptly named the “French Dip,” because like the popular steak sandwich, it was dripping with sauce.
Lew’s goal put the Cardinal up ten and caused the rest of the game to be played with a running clock, a factor that made the second half much shorter than the first.
Stanford’s play in the first half was indicative of head coach Amy Bokker’s message to the team after its tough initial loss against Denver.
“We talked about coming out strong, starting fast and playing well right from the very beginning,” Bokker said. Based on their last game against Fresno State and this win, Stanford players appear to have taken Bokker’s words to heart.
The large first-half lead allowed Stanford to give some of its younger players valuable in-game experience in the second half.
“We want to show that we have depth and we want to be able to run up and down with opponents for the whole 60 minutes,” Bokker said.
Watson also spoke to the importance of these early opportunities for the Cardinal as they continue to develop chemistry.
“It’s great that we can get them on the field and get them experience early on, so that as we come down to more situations where they’re subbed in, they feel confident and ready,” Watson said.
Watson, Buness and Baiocco each scored three in the game, helping propel Stanford in the afternoon demolition.
With the win, Stanford ended its first homestand 2-1. The team will travel to New York next weekend to play Albany on Friday and Stony Brook on Sunday.