Led by tough defense and a balanced attack that was firing on all cylinders, the Stanford women’s lacrosse team defeated Harvard 18-13 on Sunday afternoon to earn its first win of the 2013 season.
Eleven different players scored for the Cardinal (1-1), led by sophomore attacker Kyle Fraser’s hat trick. Junior captain Anna Kim posted two goals and three assists while junior Rachel Ozer added a goal and three assists to give her a team-leading nine points in two games.
“We have a lot of weapons,” said Stanford head coach Amy Bokker. “We always like to say any seven players that are in the offensive [zone] need to be threats to score, and they showed that today.”
The first half was a back-and-forth affair as both teams showcased their speed and physicality. In Harvard’s first game of the season, freshman Alexis Nicolia scored twice in the first three minutes to open a 2-0 lead for the Crimson.
Stanford answered right back with goals from Fraser and sophomore midfielder Meredith Kalinowski, both of which were assisted by Kim, to bring the teams even at two goals apiece five minutes into the game.
The teams traded goals for the next fifteen minutes before freshman midfielder Lucy Dikeou, who had two goals and two assists on the day, sliced through the Crimson defense to tie the score at six. Dikeou’s goal was the first of three straight for Stanford, giving the Card an 8-6 lead going into the half.
The streak continued after the break, as Stanford scored four goals in the opening eight minutes, broken up by a single Crimson goal six minutes into the half, to take a 12-7 lead.
“[Before the game], we really talked about moving the ball on offense, giving ourselves opportunities, good ball possession and ending with good finishes,” Bokker said. “I thought we really used our speed. We had a couple fast break opportunities—especially off the draw in the second half—that were great.”
The teams played even for the rest of the game, with Harvard never narrowing the deficit to less than four goals. After a streak of three Harvard goals made the score 16-12 with four minutes remaining, Stanford freshman Mackenzie Tesei and Julia Burns both finished breakaway opportunities off the ensuing draw controls to squash any hopes of a Crimson comeback.
Burns, Tesei and fellow freshman Adrienne Anderson all scored their first career goals on Sunday. Bokker said that it was a positive sign that so many of the young players were scoring, especially against a historically strong opponent like the Crimson.
Stanford won 14 of 18 draw controls in the second half to sustain possession. Whenever the Crimson did gain the ball, the Cardinal used full-field pressure to win it back—Stanford forced 20 Harvard turnovers on the day.
Defensively, the Cardinal was led by a huge day from junior Megan Lerner. The defender made her presence known with 8 draw controls, 3 ground balls, 1 caused turnover and several strong efforts to shut down Crimson fast breaks.
“[Meg] doesn’t mind contact at all, which is something that makes her really good in ground ball situations,” Bokker said. “She’ll put her head and body down and really make a commitment to come up with the ball.”
Stanford goaltenders junior Lyndsey Munoz and freshman Katie Wiseman combined for three saves in the game. Munoz—who, along with Kim, was recently named to the Tewaarton Award watch list—played the majority of the game and recorded one save. Wiseman made her Cardinal debut with 10 minutes remaining in the first half and returned for the final eight minutes of the game.
Stanford now hits the road to face Ohio State on March 2. According to Bokker, the win over the Crimson gives the Cardinal momentum going forward.
“Harvard is a good physical opponent,” Bokker said. “I really was impressed how our players held up to that and took that physicality and used it to our advantage.”
Contact Jana Persky at jpersky ‘at’ stanford.edu.