For the first time in program history, No. 13 Stanford field hockey (14-5, 5-1 AEC) captured the America East Field Hockey Championship, winning the final match 1-0 against Pacific (16-5, 5-1) on Sunday.
In the 16th minute of the tournament final, sophomore defender Jordan Barry scored her first career goal, which would prove to be the Cardinal’s only score in their victory. With freshman goalkeeper Kelsey Bing earning her second shutout of the tournament and a stifling defense holding off the nation’s highest scoring team, Stanford needed just one goal to take down the Tigers.
The game was a close contest between two closely matched teams. Both were nearly identical in their regular season records. Pacific had won 16 of its last 17 games coming into the final, with its single loss against Stanford on Oct. 9. Stanford’s most recent loss was against this same Pacific team on Oct. 16. A tight matchup with the Tigers sparked an exciting game, in which both teams were pushed to their best.
However, getting to the match wasn’t an easy task. Competing with Pacific for the conference championship required wins in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds on Thursday and Saturday.
Thursday’s game against UMass Lowell saw an even matchup throughout. The River Hawks struck first in the 11th minute, but the goal was quickly answered by Stanford senior defender Fran Tew, who stretched her scoring streak to five games with a rebound off a penalty corner. A goal by junior attacker Marissa Cicione would follow, putting the Cardinal up 2-1 with just over six minutes left in the half. But UMass Lowell wasn’t done. Sophomore attacker Christa Doiron capitalized on a late penalty corner to tie the score going into halftime.
In the second half, Stanford’s defense held off a series of attempts, and Bing continued her dominant rookie season, making several crucial stops. The game-winning goal came with three minutes left in regulation. A penalty corner goal by junior attacker Katie Keyser would send Stanford to its second America East semifinal.
Team defense shined in the semifinal against Cal. The Bears were not able to record a shot in the first half as a tight game remained scoreless after 35 minutes. Stanford came alive in the second half, challenging the Cal defense with eight shots. In the 54th minute, fifth-year senior Lucy Dikeou scored to break the deadlock, and added an empty net insurance goal seven minutes later to seal the win. These two tallies were a career-high for Dikeou.
Fran Tew earned the championship’s Most Outstanding Player award for her work on both offense and defense. Stanford’s defense allowed just two goals in three tournament games. Tew was joined on the All-Championship team by Kelsey Bing, Lucy Dikeou and senior defender Caroline Beaudoin.
The Cardinal are now preparing for the NCAA tournament, their seventh in eight years. Stanford will take on the University of North Carolina in the first round of the tournament on Saturday at 11 a.m. in College Park, Maryland.
Contact Laura Anderson at lauraand ‘at’ stanford.edu.