Following in the footsteps of her athletic older siblings, senior attack Ali Baiocco proved an asset to Stanford Women’s lacrosse as soon as she joined the team. Her freshman year, she scored a season-high five goals in three games and helped lead the team to its first Pac-12 championship win. As a sophomore, she led the team in goals and the conference in points, and as a junior, she made the Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll as a Science, Technology, and Society major. This year, her team is undefeated, including two games in which she scored a career- and program-high eight goals in each of the matches. Having decided to stay at Stanford for a fifth year, Baiocco looks now to help her team compete for a second Pac-12 championship win at home.
The Daily’s Alexa Gold spoke with Baiocco about her time on The Farm, her accomplishments this season and more.
The Stanford Daily (TSD): You’ve had a great season, you’ve got a huge championship coming up, but before we get into any of that, I’d love to chat a bit about lacrosse more generally. How did you first get into lacrosse?
Ali Baiocco (AB): Sports have always definitely been a huge part of my family. I have two older siblings; my older sister, Nicole, got into lacrosse when she was younger, and I kind of just did whatever she did. Whenever she would go to a clinic or something, my mom would bring me with her. So I started playing lacrosse when I was really young, and I kind of just fell in love with it, and it definitely became the main sport that I wanted to play.
TSD: At what point did it become clear you could play in college and when did Stanford come into the picture?
AB: When I was getting recruited, it was kind of crazy. It was very early — I actually committed to Stanford when I was a freshman. So, beginning of my freshman year is when I started looking at different colleges, and then by the end of my freshman year, I decided that I wanted to go to Stanford. But luckily they changed that rule; now you have to wait until you’re a junior, because it was kind of getting out of control.
TSD: Do you have a pregame routine or pregame rituals?
AB: Not really. I’m not that superstitious of a person. As a team, we do a lot of fun things in the locker room, but I can’t think of anything that I do specifically. I honestly try not to think too much before the game.
TSD: Do you have a favorite team to play against?
AB: I think our rivalry against USC is always really fun. Given that lacrosse is such an East Coast sport, it’s really fun that USC and we are able to have such a competitive rivalry on the West Coast.
TSD: What was your proudest accomplishment as a part of the women’s lacrosse team?
AB: My freshman year was the first Pac-12 season — before that our lacrosse team was in a different league — and we were able to win the first Pac-12 tournament, which was really special.
TSD: What was your favorite part of your Stanford experience both on and off the field?
AB: Definitely probably the people that I’ve been able to meet. Especially being on the lacrosse team, you get so close with so many different grades, which I think has been really special. I’m a senior and I have so many friends who are freshmen and sophomores, because when you’re on a team, it doesn’t really matter what grade you’re in.
TSD: Now focusing on the season, how has COVID changed this year?
AB: It’s definitely made it hard, but I think that just really shows how special our team is because most of the other teams were able to practice in the fall, and we weren’t able to come back until the end of January. And once we were back, I think we had like three weeks before our first game. So, it was definitely really hard, and we had to get a lot done in a short amount of time, but we’re undefeated, which I think just makes that even more amazing.
TSD: Like you said, you clinched the 2021 Pac-12 Women’s Lacrosse regular-season title — you had a perfect season — what was that like? Is that something that’s on your mind?
AB: That was definitely really awesome. I think it’s good because it gives us a lot of confidence going into the tournament and then hopefully into NCAAs. I also think it was good to do it for our coach, Danielle [Spencer], because we had a coaching change, and so she really only had half of last season, so I think it was nice to be able to clinch this for her in her first real season as the head coach at Stanford.
TSD: Twice this year, you’ve had eight goals in a game against UC Davis and rival USC — that’s a program high — what was going through your head during and after those moments?
AB: That was crazy, I actually didn’t even know that it was a program record until after the game, because I think when I’m in the game, I don’t really keep track of how many goals I had, but my teammates always run up to me after the game to celebrate it. It was definitely really cool, not something I’m necessarily thinking about in the game, but obviously something I was excited about once I was off the field.
TSD: Where’s your head at going into the Pac-12 championship?
AB: I’m really excited, and I think our team is definitely very confident and prepared. We’ve had two weeks in between our last game and this tournament, so I think we’re really prepared and excited, especially since we get to compete and hopefully win at home, since Stanford’s hosting.
TSD: What are your plans post-graduation?
AB: I actually decided that I’m coming back to Stanford for a fifth year. I get to play one more year, so I’m excited.
TSD: Do you have any remaining Stanford goals for yourself or do you feel like you’ve done what you really wanted to do?
AB: Because I decided so late, I’m hoping to get into the media studies coterm next year. And then definitely a goal on the lacrosse team is to win the Pac-12 next year and then go as far as a program record for NCAAs, because I think we’ve only ever as a program gotten past the first round, so hopefully next year being able to lead the team even further into the tournament.
Baiocco and Stanford women’s lacrosse (9-0, 7-0 Pac-12) will face Arizona State (9-5, 5-4 Pac-12) in the Pac-12 Tournament Semifinals on Thursday, May 6 at 4 p.m. PT. Catch the game on the Pac-12 Network.
This transcript has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.