Lacrosse stunned late by Trojans after beating Aztecs

It was an up-and-down road trip to Southern California for the No. 13 Stanford lacrosse team (12-3, 6-2 MPSF), which first clinched a berth in the MPSF Tournament on Friday with a 15-10 victory over San Diego State (6-9, 3-5) before suffering a tough 11-10 loss to USC (8-7, 6-3) on Sunday to drop to third in the conference with one match remaining in the regular season.

Friday’s victory was defined by one big run, as the Cardinal only owned a 4-3 lead with eight minutes to go in the first half before the offense surged and scored ten consecutive goals in a streak spanning halftime to put the match out of reach early. Although the Aztecs eventually regained their footing and scored seven times in the second half, the damage had already been done, and Stanford cruised to its 12th victory of the season.

Freshman Alex Poplawski (center) scored four goals over the weekend to increase her season total to 23. (SHIRLEY PEFLEY/isiphotos.com)

Freshman Alex Poplawski (center) continued to shine for the Card, scoring four goals over the weekend to increase her season total to 23. (SHIRLEY PEFLEY/isiphotos.com)

Sophomore midfielder Lucy Dikeou, freshman attacker Kelsey Murray and senior attacker Rachel Ozer each contributed two goals during that 10-0 run. Both Dikeou and Murray notched hat tricks overall to lead the offense against the Aztecs. Although San Diego State took six more shots than Stanford (31-25), Stanford was much more efficient on its opportunities, converting its shots at a 60 percent clip against the Aztecs’ 32 percent, which ultimately gave it the edge.

Sunday’s match against the Trojans was much more dramatic, with four lead changes and five ties leading to a neck-and-neck nailbiter in which USC ultimately edged the Cardinal to move into sole possession of fourth place in the conference.

The match was a matter of missed opportunities for the Cardinal, which outshot the Trojans 27-16, including 4-0 in the final 11 minutes. Stanford was ultimately unable to capitalize and fell just short. Although the Cardinal jumped out to a late 10-9 lead on a goal by junior attacker Kyle Fraser, the Trojans ultimately bounced back two minutes later with two goals in a span of 28 seconds to take the final 11-10 advantage, with the defense buckling down and holding the Cardinal scoreless afterward.

Dikeou, Ozer and freshman midfielder Alex Poplawski all contributed two goals each in the loss, with Dikeou’s goals giving her five for the road trip to lead the team. Ozer and Poplawski were not far behind with four apiece. Dikeou has now scored 15 goals in her last five games, and has jumped into the team lead with 26 goals on the season. Farr, Murray, Ozer and Poplawski are also each above 20 goals on the season to spearhead a balanced offensive attack for the Cardinal, which boast the nation’s 14th-highest offensive output — second in the conference behind Oregon — with 13.67 goals scored per match.

Moving forward, Stanford will need a little help in order to clinch the second seed and a first-round bye in the upcoming MPSF Tournament, as the Cardinal currently sit behind both Denver and Oregon in the conference standings. Although Stanford is out of the running for the top overall seed, if the Cardinal can defeat California in their regular-season finale later this week and Oregon loses either of its final two matches to conference-leading Denver or Cal in the final stretch of its regular season, Stanford holds the tiebreaker over the Ducks and would slide into the second seed.

Stanford will close out the regular season with a home duel with Cal on Thursday at 4 p.m.

Contact Do-Hyoung Park at dpark027 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Do-Hyoung Park

Do-Hyoung Park '16 is the Head Copy Editor at The Stanford Daily. He has previously served as managing editor of sports and sports desk editor and still writes for the football, soccer and baseball beats. Do-Hyoung is a junior originally from Seoul, South Korea and raised in Saint Paul, Minnesota pursuing a major in chemical engineering. To contact him, please email him at dpark027 'at' stanford.edu.