By Uche Ochuba
The No. 1 seed Cardinal (11-0, 7-0 Pac-12) continued their unbeaten women’s lacrosse run Saturday afternoon in the Pac-12 Championship against the No. 3 seed Colorado (8-7, 4-3 Pac-12). The dominant performance saw Stanford on top 17-10 by the final whistle.
Senior attack players Katherine Gjertsen and Ali Baiocco netted a scintillating five goals a piece. Midfielders freshman Ailish Kelly and fifth-year Mikaela Watson each put two past Colorado, with Kelly also leading the team in assists for the day, finishing with a tally of four. Senior Galen Lew of the attack also had three assists and scored once with a brilliant diving effort.
Midfielders sophomore Anna Griffith and freshman Katie McMahon also made their way onto the scoresheet with one goal each, as did fifth-year midfielder Jacie Lemos, freshman midfielder Katy Gilbert and senior attack Gabby Noto, with one assist respectively.
The first half saw Colorado strike first with 107 seconds gone on the clock, but a string of saves by Stanford’s keeper, sophomore Kara Rahaim, a solo effort by Watson and a series of clean assists helped the Cardinal take a comfortable 4-1 lead. Colorado scored to make it 4-2, but it seems that the Cardinal did not take any conceded goals lightly this weekend. Stanford promptly went on another five-goal scoring run in nine minutes. Baiocco concluded the first half with a true buzzer-beater.
Likewise, there was little room for Colorado to breathe in the second half, where the Cardinal’s dominance continued. The afternoon concluded with Stanford having maintained a comfortable seven-score lead.
By the numbers, Stanford won the first nine draw controls — a stat which later started to even out. Ultimately, Colorado won 12 draw controls and Stanford won 17, primarily thanks to sixth-year midfielder Genesis Lucero, who won nine of Cardinal’s total. The Cardinal’s commanding performance came despite the Buffaloes getting the better of them in both shots and shots on goal — 31-30 and 24-23, respectively. It speaks to the performance of Stanford’s Rahaim between the sticks, who finished with 14 saves for a save percentage of .583.
In the end, this title triumph on home turf was very well-deserved. Next up for the Cardinal squad will be the NCAA Tournament, with the selection show set to take place Sunday, May 9.