After starting the season with three losses in the first four games, Stanford women’s field hockey has turned it on of late, with eight victories in the past nine matches and a clean start to conference play after the No. 14 Cardinal knocked off UC-Davis and Pacific over the weekend.
While last weekend’s road victory over rival California was tight throughout and eventually decided by just one goal, resulting in a 2-1 win, this weekend was quite a bit lighter in tone and drama.
In the team’s first home game since Sept. 9, Stanford (9-4, 3-0 NorPac) came out fired up on offense against the Aggies (7-7, 3-1). Senior All-American Becky Dru opened the scoring at the 10:33 mark of the first half, cashing in on a penalty corner for a lead that Davis never threatened.
Sophomore Shannon Herold’s unassisted drive from midfield to the cage put the Cardinal up 2-0 just four minutes later, and two more goals salted the game away even before the halftime whistle had blown.
The scoreboard was clearly lopsided; Davis failed to get off a recorded shot in the half, while Stanford had 13 in the first 35 minutes of play.
With a big lead and most of the possession, the Cardinal let its foot off the gas a bit in the second half, shooting less frequently while maintaining crisp passing on the wet turf. Courtney Haldeman capped the night’s scoring with her team-leading seventh goal in the 50th minute, sliding a ball past goalie Conley Craven on a nice pass from Dru.
Sunday’s match was more of the same, as Dru scored a pair of goals for the second straight game and Haldeman chipped in another in the 4-1 victory over Pacific (4-9, 0-2). The Tigers didn’t go quite as quietly as the Aggies, holding the Cardinal scoreless through the first half even while they combined for just two shot attempts to Stanford’s 13.
It didn’t take long for Stanford to break through, once again thanks to a familiar face. Dru slotted her fifth goal of the year past the keeper for a 1-0 lead, following up with another 11 minutes later after pouncing on a loose ball.
The Tigers found the net in the 60th minute, spoiling freshman goalkeeper Dulcie Davies’ shutout, but the junior attacker Haldeman upped her scoring tally with another in the 68th minute for the final 4-1 margin. Stanford’s final numbers once again were dominant: a 22-6 advantage in shots, 12-2 advantage in penalty corners.
On the whole, the victory was merely the latest edition of the Cardinal’s domination over several of its league opponents—Pacific’s last victory in the season series came back on Sept. 30, 2006, a span of 12 games.
The competition will pick up significantly next week, however, when Stanford hits the road for two non-conference games against No. 1 Syracuse (at a neutral site in Amherst, Mass.) and No. 3 Connecticut.
The Cardinal will return to California to play its remaining slate of league matches beginning with a home game against the Tigers on Oct. 19.