The No. 15 Stanford women’s lacrosse team (7-3, 2-1 MPSF) will cap off a three-game road stretch with matchups against Saint Mary’s on Wednesday and No. 4 Northwestern this weekend.
The Cardinal’s five-game winning streak was broken in a 14-10 loss to Denver last Friday in which Stanford was held scoreless for 18 minutes in the first half as the Pioneers built a six-goal lead.
Sophomore Meredith Kalinowski and freshman Julia Burns led the Cardinal with three points each, but it wasn’t enough to avoid the team’s first Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) loss of the season.
Stanford will look to bounce back in another conference game at Saint Mary’s this afternoon. The Cardinal has never lost in 25 meetings with the Gaels (3-6, 1-3 MPSF).
Last season, Stanford took a 16-7 victory over Saint Mary’s in its final regular season game.
Seniors Jillian Chong and Amanda Cross lead a Saint Mary’s attack that is averaging 11.33 goals per game, ranked seventh among the nine teams in the MPSF. Chong has recorded 21 goals and 8 assists for 29 points, while Cross has also tallied 29 points on 17 goals and 12 assists. Five other attackers have double-digit point totals for the Gaels.
In goal, Katherine Herzog has played every minute for Saint Mary’s. The junior is allowing 13.52 goals per game while positing a .372 save percentage, last in the conference.
The Gaels will come into the game with almost two weeks of rest, as their last game was a 19-2 win over Stetson on March 29.
After the game against Saint Mary’s, Stanford will travel to the Midwest to face traditional power Northwestern.
The Wildcats (11-1), who have won seven of the past eight national championships, will provide the Cardinal with another opportunity to prove its standing on the national stage. Stanford has only beaten Northwestern once in eight tries.
In 2012, Northwestern easily defeated Stanford 18-6 despite 13 saves from Cardinal goalkeeper Lyndsey Munoz.
The Wildcats boast a powerful attack averaging close to 14 goals per game. Senior Erin Fitzgerald tops the charts with 39 goals and 5 assists for 44 points this season, followed by junior Alyssa Leonard (22 goals, 8 assists) and senior Amanda Macaluso (20 goals, 8 assists).
Starting goalkeeper Bridget Bianco has a .474 save percentage, leading Northwestern to a team average of 7.50 goals allowed per game, the seventh-best mark in the nation.
The Cardinal will respond with their own stable of scoring weapons. Junior Rachel Ozer has scored a team-high 28 goals and 12 assists, and three other players have tallied more than 20 points this season: junior Kyle Fraser (18 goals, 3 assists), junior Anna Kim (14 goals, 7 assists) and sophomore Hannah Farr (14 goals, 6 assists).
The Cardinal has allowed 10.70 goals per game this season.
Stanford’s defense has been led by junior Megan Lerner, who has picked up a team-leading 24 ground balls this season and caused 14 turnovers. Freshman Lucy Dikeou has been a strong presence at both ends of the field.
Munoz, who was named MPSF Defensive Player of the Week for the week of March 25-31, has been averaging 6.4 saves per game on .383 percent of the shots she has faced.
The game against Saint Mary’s will begin on Wednesday at 4 p.m. On Sunday, the Northwestern matchup will begin at 11 a.m. PST.
Contact Jana Persky at jpersky ‘at’ stanford.edu.