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Card fall short in MPSFs but earn NCAA at-large bid

The No. 20 Cardinal women’s lacrosse team fell short of its ninth Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) tournament championship in 10 years against No. 15 Denver at the Pioneers’ home field as Stanford (14-4) lost to Denver (18-1) by a score of 14-11. Stanford was the defending tournament champion, as it beat Denver last year in the MPSF tournament finals 7-6. However, this year the final result was not in its favor.

(ZETONG LI/The Stanford Daily)

Senior Rachel Ozer above) was named to the MPSF All-Tournament team, along with junior Hannah Farr and sophomore Adrienne Anderson. (ZETONG LI/The Stanford Daily)

Stanford has played Denver now six times in the MPSF Tournament, with Stanford coming out on top in the first five meetings. However, this year, Denver ended the streak, largely thanks to a powerful start to the game. Denver came out fast with a strong offense that scored five goals in the first 10 minutes of the game.

The Cardinal fell into an early slump and could not recover from that five-goal Pioneer streak, as they fell behind by deficits of 5-0 and 9-2 and were never able to draw closer than the final margin. However, senior attacker Rachel Ozer broke through for the Cardinal in the ninth minute, and from that point on Stanford outscored Denver 11-9.

Sophomore attacker Alexandra Crerend helped give Stanford a boost in possession by winning face-offs, which helped the team push to a 3-0 scoring run that brought the Cardinal within 9-5 on a goal by sophomore midfielder Lucy Dikeou with 1:21 left in the first half. Denver, however, responded with a 3-0 scoring run of its own, retaking control of the game just after halftime.

The Cardinal’s offensive leaders were clear, with junior midfielder and MPSF Player of the Year Hannah Farr and Ozer scoring three goals apiece. Farr also tallied four ground balls and caused two turnovers. Dikeou contributed two goals, three ground balls, three draw controls and caused a turnover. Freshman midfielder Alex Poplawski, freshman attacker Kelsey Murray and senior midfielder Anna Kim scored one goal each. Stanford closed out the scoring with a 5-1 run, including the goal by Kim with 3:30 to go.

On the defensive end, Stanford struggled to stop Denver’s scoring. Senior goalie Lyndsey Muñoz started the game and played about 22 minutes. She tallied two saves before sophomore goalie Katie Wiseman entered the game. She finished out the game allowing only four goals in her 37 minutes and made seven saves. Additionally, sophomore defender Adrienne Anderson caused three turnovers.

Denver gave the Cardinal a lot of trouble due to their offensive diversity and depth. The Pioneers had six players scoring, with junior midfielder Kiki Boone, sophomore midfielder Christa Reese and sophomore attacker Rachael McKinno each tallying hat tricks. Boone also tallied nine draw controls and three ground balls. Junior midfielder Racheal Dillon and junior attacker Jill Remenapp each scored two goals. Dillon won four draw controls and two ground balls.  Senior midfielder Meredith Harris additionally contributed one goal and three assists.

Denver outshot Stanford 32-28, while placing 23 shots on goal. The Pioneers held a 19-9 advantage in draw controls and edged the Cardinal 19-18 in ground balls.

For Denver, the defense was led by redshirt junior goalie Hannah Hook, who recorded nine saves. Hook was named the MPSF Tournament MVP.

With the win, the Pioneers broke the record for the University’s longest winning streak with 16 games. Prior to the win, Denver had gone 0-6 against Stanford in the MPSF Tournament.

When the MPSF tournament team was selected, three Stanford players in Ozer, Farr and Anderson were chosen for the MPSF All-Tournament team.

Stanford will play No. 11 Duke in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on May 9 after earning the at-large bid into the tournament on Sunday night. The winner will advance to the second round and play the winner of the matchup between Canisius and Penn.

Contact Kristina Bassi at kbassi ‘at’