By Andrew Tan
No. 18 Stanford women’s lacrosse (8-4, 4-3 Pac-12) looks to get back to its winning ways after a tough triple-overtime loss to USC, returning to action on Thursday afternoon against San Diego State (8-4, 0-0 MPSF).
The Cardinal holds a 6-0 all-time record against the Aztecs with the closest game still seeing Stanford win by a five-goal margin. In the latest matchup between the two squads in 2017 at Cagan Stadium, the Card romped over San Diego State by a score of 19-8. Four of the six matchups between the teams have been played in Palo Alto where Stanford has dominated.
Although the teams hold the same records, these numbers are deceiving as all of Stanford’s losses have come against ranked opponents – No. 16 Denver, No. 23 Colorado and twice to No. 14 USC – while only two of the Aztecs’ defeats were at the hands of top-25 teams. San Diego State has also lost its last three matches and is not in a good run of form, trailing its opponents by an average of over seven goals per game during the poor stretch.
The showdown against San Diego State is the Cardinal’s last non-conference bout before three Pac-12 matches against Colorado, Oregon and Cal and then the Pac-12 tournament. While the in-conference stretch run will likely determine Stanford’s seeding in the tournament – the highest seed the team can hope for is second as it lost both its games against USC – this game could be an important tiebreaker for the second seed should Colorado improve its overall record to match Stanford’s.
The key to victory for Stanford seems to be to pull away by multiple goals early and not allow the game to be close at the end. Three games the Cardinal have lost thus far have been decided at the buzzer, often on a missed attempt by a Stanford player. Strong first half performance is also important for the Card as some poor initial play has tanked their chances at winning in games against Denver and Colorado.
With a win over San Diego State, Stanford could gain some momentum and restore confidence before a pivotal game against Colorado next week. First draw control is schedule for 4 p.m. at Cagan Stadium.