By Andrew Tan
No. 20 Stanford women’s lacrosse (12-4, 7-3 pac-12) will take on Oregon (3-14, 1-9 Pac-12) in the opening round of the Pac-12 Conference Tournament Thursday at Pape Field in Eugene, Oregon. The Cardinal are seeded third behind No. 19 USC and No. 22 Colorado due to conference record.
Stanford, however, is the defending champion, and last year took home the inaugural Pac-12 Conference Title. The Cardinal now look to defend that honor starting Thursday.
While the top two seeds have byes on the first day, Stanford will play No. 6-seed Oregon. The Cardinal decimated Oregon in both regular season matchups and will look to do so again in their first matchup of the tournament.
Oregon lost the first two games between the squads by a combined score of 33-20, 15-8 (the score on the Farm) and 18-12 (last time around at Pape Field). Based on prior games, Stanford should have no trouble dispatching the Ducks before marching into the next round.
Should Stanford advance, Colorado will be waiting for the Cardinal on Friday. Stanford is 7-5 all-time against the Buffaloes and split the season series, falling 18-12 in Palo Alto and winning 13-12 in overtime in Boulder.
Colorado seems to have Stanford’s number lately, taking three of their last five games. Last time the two teams met in the conference tournament, however, was in the championship last year; the Cardinal romped over its rival, despite narrowly losing both regular season matches against the Buffaloes.
To secure a win in the second round, Stanford will be looking for standout performances from top goalscorer in sophomore attack Ali Baiocco (48), sophomore attack Katherine Gjertsen (34) and junior captain and midfielder Mikaela Watson (31), among others. Sophomore goalkeeper Trudie Grattan will guard the net after a solid season in which she took home two Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week awards.
If Stanford advances as far as the championship game on Saturday, they will likely play USC — a chance for revenge in a season where USC edged the Cardinal in two tightly-contested contests, each separated by one goal. But first, Stanford has to get there.
The Cardinal’s first game begins at 7:30 p.m. PST at Pape Field.