Lacrosse splits weekend doubleheader against MPSF foes

In a doubleheader last weekend, No. 8 Stanford women’s lacrosse (9-2, 3-1 MPSF) fell to powerhouse Denver (10-1, 4-0 MPSF) 13-12 on Friday before rebounding to defeat the Colorado Buffaloes (6-6, 3-2 MPSF) 13-5 to maintain good standing in the conference heading into the final month of the regular season.

Against Denver, Stanford jumped out to a solid 6-0 lead with 16:49 left in the first half. After that, however, Stanford struggled to find the back of the net despite taking a total of 25 shots in the match. Senior Denver goalie Hannah Hook made six saves to keep the Pioneers in the game despite the Cardinal’s early success. The Cardinal seemed to have trouble adjusting to scoring on Hook, a left-handed goalie. Several shots were placed to the left of the goal, normally the weak side for right-handed goalies, and easily saved by Hook’s stick as the match progressed.

Senior Rachel Ozer (above) scored two goals ... (XXX/The Stanford Daily)

Senior Rachel Ozer (above) scored two goals against Denver as the Cardinal couldn’t maintain the early 6-0 lead that they grabbed, eventually seceding the game-winning goal with 6:41 left in the match. (ZETONG LI/The Stanford Daily)

Gaining momentum from its defensive saves, Denver countered with five goals to end the first half and make the score close, making it 7-6 heading into the break. The Pioneers would go on to take the lead with 10:18 left to play on an unassisted goal by junior midfielder Rachel Dillon.

The game remained very close and junior Kyle Fraser eventually tied up the score at 12 with 8:37 to play in the match. However, Denver didn’t take its foot off the pedal as it outscored the Cardinal 6-2 in the final 21 minutes, with senior midfielder Meredith Harris scoring the game-winner with 6:41 left — her fifth goal of the match. Harris leads the Pioneer offense with 38 goals, and also has 10 assists and 12 draw controls this season.

“We need to know how to finish our opponents,” said Stanford head coach Amy Bokker to GoStanford.com. “Both losses were games we were up five-plus goals. We’re too kind in those situations. We start to lose our discipline and our patience.”

Despite the tough loss, there were great performances for the Cardinal, including one from sophomore midfielder and Denver native Lucy Dikeou, who led the offense with three goals, five draw controls, two ground balls and a turnover caused. In addition, junior Hannah Farr scored two goals and had three draw controls. Fraser and senior Rachel Ozer also scored two each for Stanford.

The Cardinal returned to action on Sunday and rebounded as they faced Colorado on their Senior Day. Stanford, led by the defense of senior Megan Lerner, got the 13-5 victory over the Buffaloes.

Stanford took a season-high 40 shots, with nine different players scoring. Farr scored three, while Ozer and freshman Alex Poplawski scored two apiece. The Cardinal led the entire game and added a dominating win to their record.

Coming off the Denver game, in which the Cardinal exhibited trouble scoring, the team was not only able to score goals but also did so in response to Colorado’s successes and did it fast. On one occasion, Farr finished off a pass from sophomore Alexandra Crerend only ten seconds after a Colorado goal. During another sequence, Farr and Poplawski scored about thirteen seconds apart.

Lerner, clearly leading the team and the defense, earned eight draw controls (one less than her own single-game school record), caused three turnovers and picked up three ground balls. She was one of the four seniors being honored in their final home weekend regular-season game. The others were Anna Kim, Nina Swanson and Lyndsey Munoz. Ozer, the Cardinal’s season-leading scorer with 27 points, 18 goals and nine assists, will play a fifth season next year.

Stanford returns to play on Friday at Oregon (7-4, 3-0 MPSF). The match will begin at 5 p.m. and will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.

Contact Kristina Bassi at kbassi ‘at’ stanford.edu.