By Andrew Tan
On an East Coast road trip from Friday to Sunday, No. 22 Stanford women’s lacrosse (4-1, 0-0 PAC-12) took its game to New York for impressive wins against Albany (3-1, 0-0 America East) and No. 10 Stony Brook (2-2, 0-0 America East). Since recording victories against two stronger opponents, Stanford has moved up to No. 16 in the latest NCAA Inside Lacrosse Poll while Stony Brook has slipped to No. 17. The successful road trip brought the Cardinal’s current win streak to four games and the team has not lost since an opening defeat to No. 13 Denver.
Stanford started its brief stint in frigid New York by toppling previously undefeated Albany 16-13. Most apparent in the result was the seamless transition the Stanford offense made to a colder hostile environment. Sophomore Ali Baiocco turned in a career day with seven points on five goals and two assists while junior captains Daniella McMahon (4) and Mikaela Watson (3) both pitched in hat tricks.
As was a point of emphasis after the first game, Stanford started the contest strong, converting two early opportunities through Baiocco and McMahon within 47 seconds of each other. Albany would not fold this easily, however, and responded by doubling the Cardinal output with four goals of its own. This scoring burst, while effective in pushing the Great Danes ahead, seemed to jumpstart the Cardinal into hyperdrive.
Stanford dominated the rest of the half, scoring eight of the last nine goals to take a commanding 10-5 lead into the break. From this point forward, the Cardinal never held an advantage smaller than three goals. Though Albany made a run late in the game to trim the Stanford lead to 16-13, sophomore goalkeeper Trudie Grattan limited the damage with ten saves. Other players important to the Cardinal victory included junior Jacie Lemos, who contributed three assists, and senior Genesis Lucero, who led the team with six draw controls.
With the win, Stanford carried its momentum into its biggest match of the season, away at Stony Brook. The Cardinal had beat up on a couple smaller California programs and added another hard-fought victory in Albany, but Stony Brook figured to prove a real test for the Stanford team.
On Sunday morning, Stanford made its case for a top spot in national rankings with a competitive 15-12 unseating of Stony Brook. Baiocco again headed the Stanford attack, bettering her career-best scoring output with six goals just two days after she set her career-high points total. On the other side of the ball, Grattan walled up the goal to Stony Brook attempts and tallied a personal record 12 saves.
The win over the Seawolves was the program’s first over a top-10 side since 2015 and halted a 33-game home winning streak for the Long Island-based team.
Again, the Cardinal got off to a quick start, launching three quick goals into the opponent’s goal to help jump out to a 5-1 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the half. Before Stanford could take this lead any further, Stony Brook flipped the script and used Stanford’s first half recipe against Albany to take a 7-6 lead into halftime after scoring six of the last seven goals.
Out of halftime, the Seawolves looked to create a sizable lead but senior Areta Buness had other plans. Soon after Stony Brook advanced the score to 10-8, Buness scored back-to-back goals within 25 seconds of one another to pull Stanford even. Sophomore Galen Lew then converted the go-ahead goal and Buness added insurance for a hat trick and a 12-10 lead. Once the Cardinal retook the lead, it never relinquished it and consecutive draw controls from senior Julia Massaro iced the game.
The wins in New York took Stanford to 4-1, a solid record before conference play begins this week. Coming up, Stanford plays Colorado on Thursday and Oregon on Sunday as it looks to defend its Pac-12 title.