By Andrew Tan
No. 20 Stanford women’s lacrosse (13-5, 7-3 Pac-12) advanced to the second round of the PAC-12 Tournament in Eugene, Oregon by beating Oregon (3-15, 1-9 Pac-12), before being knocked out on Friday by No. 22 Colorado (10-7, 8-2 Pac-12).
Stanford was seeded third in the tournament while Oregon and Colorado were sixth and second, respectively. Colorado had a bye in the first round, edging ahead of Stanford in conference record.
The Cardinal had no trouble leaving conference bottom-feeder Oregon in the dust on Thursday night, roasting the Ducks 17-6 in a match that was never competitive.
Oregon scored first, perhaps giving them some confidence to pull a massive upset over a vastly more-talented Stanford squad, but the Cardinal went on to score eight consecutive goals and subdue any minuscule hope in Eugene that the home squad might make a run to the championship.
Sophomore Katherine Gjertsen was the lead marksman for Stanford on the night, tying a career-high six points in the game with four goals and two assists. In the middle of the field, senior Genesis Lucero ensured that Oregon saw very little of the ball, winning 10 draw controls, a mark that put her third in team history, and adding two goals and two assists.
After the game, Gjertsen spoke on the dominant performance and the team’s attitude.
“We decided that we that were going to play every second like we’re playing for a championship,” she said. “We know that each game could potentially be our last.”
Unfortunately for the Cardinal, the next game would be their last of the season.
Stampeded by the Buffs
Stanford fell to second-seeded Colorado on Friday night 16-9 in a repeat of the two teams’ regular-season showdown at the Farm.
The Cardinal got off to a promising start, scoring four of the first six goals after Colorado opened the proceedings. Senior Areta Buness put the ball in goal twice in this span to help Stanford move into a 4-2 lead 10 minutes into the first half.
The Buffaloes fired off three quick scores in response before junior Jacie Lemos knotted the game up at five apiece, the last time the match would be even.
Colorado scored another two to break the tie and looked poised to run away with the game until sophomore Ali Baiocco stole momentum back for Stanford with her 50th goal of the season to cut the deficit to one goal. Baiocco became just the fourth Cardinal player to reach the half-century mark in a season.
The Buffs entered halftime with a 10-7 lead and would only build on their lead in the second half. The Colorado defense stifled Stanford after the break, only allowing two more goals in the remaining 30 minutes.
One stat that went unreflected on the lopsided scoreboard was Stanford’s dominance behind Lucero and senior Julia Massaro in draw controls. Stanford won the draw control battle 19-8 but was unable to convert many of these opportunities into scores. With two more draw controls on the day, Massaro became the first player in program history to record 100 draw controls in a single season.
Stanford’s season ended on a flat note on Friday but the team will not lose many key contributors besides Massaro and Buness. The team’s three other team captains return to play next year and sophomore Taylor Scornavacco, one of the three captains who was injured in the second game of the season, will return from an injury that sidelined her for the entire season.
Stanford heads into next season looking to become the first team in the conference to win two Pac-12 championships.