By Jana Persky
The No. 20 Stanford women’s lacrosse team earned its first NCAA Tournament victory in impressive fashion by upsetting No. 9 Notre Dame 8-7 in the opening round today. The Cardinal (14-5) will now take on No. 2 Northwestern in the second round.
The Fighting Irish had previously defeated the Cardinal 12-10 in the season opener on Feb. 16, but Stanford’s players took confidence from its 7-2 halftime lead in that game.
In the game that mattered more, the Cardinal put together a full 60-minute effort to take the victory. On attack, freshman Lucy Dikeou led the way with three goals, including the game-tying goal with 1:51 to play.
Sophomore midfielder Hannah Farr chipped in with two scores, including the game-winning goal on a free-position shot with four seconds remaining. Freshman attacker Julia Burns’ two goals and junior midfielder Anna Kim’s one rounded out the scoring for Stanford. Junior goalkeeper Lyndsey Munoz made six saves in goal.
Until the very end, the rematch looked a lot like the season opener. Stanford jumped out to a 4-2 halftime lead, holding the Irish scoreless for the final 11:53. After Stanford built the lead to 6-3 in the first 13 minutes of the second half, Notre Dame began its comeback charge.
The Irish scored three goals over a stretch of 4:07 to tie the contest with seven minutes remaining. Two minutes later, Notre Dame’s Kaitlyn Brosco scored to give the Irish its first lead since 1-0 early in the first few minutes of the game.
But unlike in the first matchup, the Cardinal had some more fight left. Stanford won all three draw controls remaining in the game to spark a late run. First Dikeou tied the game when junior defender Megan Lerner forced a key Notre Dame turnover. Then, after Lerner won the draw, Farr earned a free-position shot and converted to give the Cardinal its first-ever NCAA Tournament victory.
Stanford now has to prepare for another rematch on Sunday, this time against perennial power Northwestern, who beat the Cardinal 12-8 on April 4. The Wildcats have won seven of the past eight national championships, including the last three.
Before the tournament began, Munoz said that the Northwestern game was another regular season contest in which the Cardinal believed the team should have done better.
“It would be very exciting to beat them at their home field,” Munoz said. “Especially with them [winning the tournament] last year, it would be really great to knock them off.”
Sunday’s game will begin at 11:30 a.m. PST.
Contact Jana Persky at jpersky ‘at’ stanford.edu.