Though a silver medal is certainly always something to be proud of, this one comes with an ounce of disappointment for the Card. A 7-6 loss to the No. 2 UCLA Bruins in the finals of the UC Irvine Invitational, snaps the Cardinal win streak at 27 straight.
The déjà vu is all too real — the last loss the Card suffered was in last year’s UC Irvine Invitational against none other than the Bruins. Despite the tough loss, Stanford put on a strong showing at the tournament, which should give the team confidence as it moves back into regular season play.
The Cardinal kicked off the tournament against No. 19 Pacific (4-5). No. 1 Stanford (11-0) was quick out of the gates, scoring six goals in the first period to put the game away. The eventual 13-3 victory was the result of goals from six members of the Cardinal squad, each netting two, except junior driver Maggie Steffens, who nabbed three.
The defense looked solid as ever. Junior goalkeeper Gabby Stone started the game strong in the cage, making three saves and only yielding one strike before handing duty over to senior Emily Dorst after the first period. Dorst finished out the game with nine saves, allowing only two further goals for the Tigers.
The win propelled the Cardinal to the next round where they met No. 9 Cal State Northridge (10-8). The Matadors have earned the top-ten ranking this season with some big wins, but didn’t come close in this one. The Card also held CSUN to three goals in the contest, going on to win it 16-3.
The goals were contributed by ten different players throughout all four periods. Stone was in charge for the first three periods and recorded seven saves. Dorst took it home with one of her own in the final period. The win pushed the Cardinal’s win streak to 26 straight and set them up to face rival Cal in the semifinals.
The Sunday morning match against the No. 4 Cal Bears was much closer than the Cardinal have gotten used to. Stanford managed to secure a 7-6 win, but it was both the lowest scoring game and smallest margin of victory for the Card all season.
It was the first match up between the two this year and was as tightly contested as a rivalry would be expected to be. Stanford was down 4-2 at halftime, one of the first times this year the Cardinal had to play from behind. A five-goal third period sparked an enormous comeback however, and Gabby Stone made ten saves to hold on to the one goal advantage through the end of the game.
Then came the much anticipated match: the final against UCLA. It’s a showdown that has occurred time and time again, including in the 2014 National Championship. But this time, UCLA got the upper hand. The 7-6 overtime loss is the Cardinal’s first of the season, though they didn’t falter by much. The game bounced back and forth with the teams exchanging goals evenly and neither team building a substantial lead.
When the final horn sounded, the game was knotted at 5 and headed to overtime. The first period of overtime yielded no winner — both teams scored one goal. However, in the second period of overtime, the 132:42 minute of tournament play for the Card, UCLA scored the go-ahead and eventual game-winning goal.
Contact Carlie Tenenbaum at carliet ‘at’ stanford.edu.