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Lacrosse plays host to Denver and Colorado with winning streak on the line

Just past the halfway point of its season, the No. 8 Stanford women’s lacrosse team (8-1, 2-0 MPSF) will welcome the Denver Pioneers (9-1, 3-0) and the Colorado Buffaloes (4-5, 2-1) to the Farm this weekend for a pair of crucial conference matchups.

The Cardinal increased their winning streak to six games and improved their record to 8-1 when they upset No. 6 Notre Dame (8-4) 11-10 last Saturday in South Bend, Ind. Sophomore midfielder Lucy Dikeou led the Cardinal with four goals, including the game-winner, and was named the MPSF Offensive Player of the Week for her efforts.

Sophomore midfielder Luck Dikeou

Sophomore midfielder Lucy Dikeou (above) has recorded 14 goals on 31 shots in nine games this season in addition to assisting on twelve other scores. Her offensive production will be key to Stanford’s success against Denver and Colorado. (ZETONG LI/The Stanford Daily)

Stanford will also look to continue its solid defense, led by senior goalie Lyndsey Muñoz. The Crofton, Md. native has 55 saves on the season, an average of about six per game. She, along with senior defender Megan Lerner, who last year was an All-MPSF First Team selection, must continue to anchor the defense for the Cardinal to prove successful this weekend.

On the offensive side, junior midfielder Hannah Farr — also an All-MPSF first-teamer and the MPSF Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player in 2013 — will certainly spearhead lead the Cardinal’s attack. She has 15 goals, four assists and 22 ground ball pick-ups through nine games this season. Additionally, sophomore midfielder Meg Lentz, with 15 goals and four assists, and senior attacker Rachel Ozer, with 14 goals and eight assists, will remain key cogs in Stanford’s offensive plans. Aside from the Cardinal’s established stars, attention should be paid to freshman attacker Kelsey Murray. She scored a combined four goals and four assists during victories on the road against Cornell and Notre Dame, garnering MPSF Rookie of the Week honors, and could be on the verge of a breakout that could potentially propel Stanford to the next level.

The Cardinal will look to extend their six-match winning streak when they face Denver on Friday. Last year, Stanford defeated the Pioneers 7-6 to win its eighth MPSF Tournament title in nine years. Denver figures to be the tougher competition of the Friday-Sunday doubleheader for the Card. Coming off a tremendous 20-4 victory over St. Mary’s last Sunday, the Pioneers have now run their own unbeaten streak to seven games. Junior attacker Jill Remenapp and senior midfielder Meredith Harris, who have combined for 44 goals and 40 assists on the season, lead their offense.

Denver also has great depth, as evidenced by the twelve different players who contributed at least one point in their last match. The Pioneers figure to be a significant test for the Cardinal, particularly for Stanford’s offense. Denver ranks 10th in the NCAA in scoring defense this season, having allowed a paltry 75 goals in ten games. The Pioneers have also fared better against the teams’ common opponent, Vanderbilt, by virtue of a 10-8 victory. Stanford, meanwhile, lost 16-15 to the Commodores in a close overtime match — the team’s only loss of the campaign thus far. Regardless, Stanford should be favored by virtue of its results against tougher competition. The Cardinal will be Denver’s first top-20 opponent of the season.

On Sunday, Stanford will then face a Colorado team playing its inaugural season of women’s lacrosse. While the Cardinal loom as the heavy favorite in this matchup, the Buffs are coming off a convincing win 19-5 against St. Mary’s. Bay Area native Cali Castagnola, a freshman attacker who scored four goals on four shots to go with one assist against the Gaels, leads the Buffs. Alongside Castagnola, freshman midfielder Marie Moore and freshman attacker Amelia Brown are strong and impactful players who will look to spur the young Buffs past the experienced Cardinal.

Stanford faces Denver on 7 p.m. on Friday, while Sunday’s contest against Colorado commences at 1 p.m. Pac-12 Networks will televise both games.

Contact Kristina Bassi at kbassi@stanford.edu.