After an up-and-down season filled with close wins and disappointing losses, the Stanford women’s lacrosse team honored its seniors with a 16-7 rout of Saint Mary’s last Sunday in its last conference game of the season. The win capped off an exciting weekend for the Cardinal, coming just two days after the team defeated rival California when senior Emilie Boeri scored a game-winning goal in the final 24 seconds of regulation.
The Cardinal (7-9, 5-2 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) clinched the No. 3 seed in the upcoming MPSF Tournament and will hope to use the momentum of its four-game winning streak to secure its eighth straight conference championship. Playing nothing like the team that was 3-9 and on the bubble of being shut out from the tournament just over a week ago, Stanford seems to have finally found its rhythm.
The efforts of Boeri, who earned a hat trick in Friday’s win against Cal (8-7, 4-3), and sophomore goalkeeper Lyndsey Muñoz saved the day for Stanford. The Bears rallied to tie the score four times and outshot the Cardinal 30-23, but Muñoz maintained her composure, making 11 saves.
Stanford scored early to lead 3-0 within the first five minutes, a stark contrast to the early deficits that plagued the team earlier this season. After senior Catherine Swanson and Cal sophomore Amelia Burke scored one apiece, the Bears fought back with three unanswered goals to tie the game 4-4. From there, the contest bounced back and forth, but Stanford held a one-goal edge at the break after sophomore Annie Anton scored.
After the half, sophomore Anna Kim restarted the scoring to push the lead to 7-5 within the first minute, but the advantage did not last long as Stanford found itself tied with the Bears yet again. However, the Cardinal defense prevented a hungry California team looking to send its seniors out with a win from taking over the lead.
With the score held at 8-8 for over seven minutes after a goal from Boeri and two from California sophomore Paige Gasparino, it looked as if the match would head to overtime. Boeri, however, had other plans. After picking up a ground ball off a Cal turnover in the final half minute, she drove down the field to sink the final shot and secure the 9-8 win.
After spoiling the Golden Bears’ senior day, Stanford ensured that there would be no upset for its own seniors against Saint Mary’s (2-10, 0-5), rewarding Swanson, Emilie and Anna Boeri and Maria Fortino with a game that was clinched well before the final whistle. There was plenty of scoring to be had, with Newstrom, freshman Kyle Fraser and junior Carolyn Bradley each scoring three goals apiece. Kim and freshman Hannah Farr scored twice, and Anna Boeri, Swanson and freshman Meredith Kalinowski added one goal apiece.
In a dominant performance, Stanford outshot the Gaels 33-17 and scored a whopping 11 goals in the first half. The team also won 15 of 24 draw controls and committed four fewer turnovers. The Cardinal is now 25-0 all time against Saint Mary’s.
The fourth consecutive win improved the team’s conference record to 5-2 and ensured the Cardinal a matchup against No. 2 seed Denver. While Stanford fell in its previous competition against the Pioneers, the Cardinal has been playing like a different team in its recent games. Since its last loss to Oregon on April 13, the team has outscored and outshot opponents 61-44 and 120-96, respectively. The offense, which previously struggled to get going until well into the second half, has been consistently strong from the first to the last whistle. As it prepares to host the upcoming tournament, it seems that the Stanford women’s lacrosse team is finding its stride at the right time.
Stanford will host No. 2 seed Denver in the MPSF Tournament semifinal at home on Friday, April 27, at 7 p.m.