In the final weekend homestand of the regular season, Stanford lacrosse (10-4, 5-1 MPSF) looks to continue its recent success and earn its first victory against a ranked opponent. The Cardinal are set to square off against conference opponent No. 6 USC (12-3, 6-0) before finishing the season against the San Diego State (8-6, 2-4) on Sunday.
The Cardinal are currently on a three-game winning streak, despite some shaky play at the beginning of games recently. In Stanford’s last match on the road against Cal, the Cardinal once again had to rely on an astounding offensive performance from senior Kelsey Murray in order to come back from an early multi-goal deficit.
The attacker Murray remains the biggest factor for Stanford’s success of late, as the senior has often single-handedly powered the Cardinal offense to life by finding the back of the net at least five times in each of the games in the recent winning streak.
Murray’s recent onslaught of goals has heightened her season tally to an astonishing 45, breaking Lucy Dikeou’s record of 124 career goals at Stanford during Monday’s match against the Golden Bears.
Despite the recent success, however, Murray and the Cardinal have often failed to deliver wins against beatable opponents. Stanford is 0-2 when facing ranked opponents on the season — with losses on the road against then-No. 10 Duke (8-7, 1-5 ACC) and No. 9 Colorado (13-2, 5-1) — and Friday evening provides an opportunity for the Cardinal to measure themselves while preparing for the MPSF championships next week.
The Trojan seniors have also led Southern California on this season with senior attacker Michaela Michael netting 54 goals as part of a team-high 70 points (goals plus assists) to propel the USC offense to 10th in the nation (by average goals per game at 15). While Michael owns the team-high in the goal tally by far, possibly the Trojan’s biggest strength is their depth and versatility with five different women of Troy having netted over 20 goals this season.
Southern California flashed their depth last week when facing fellow conference leader No. 9 Colorado, ultimately blowing out the Buffs in Los Angeles 11-5. In USC’s senior day match, six different Trojans scored, including a hat trick from senior attacker Kylie Drexel, while marching to victory behind a 7-0 second half score.
Sunday’s matchup hosts a struggling San Diego State that has its last three games during a tough slate that included home matches against No. 6 USC and No. 9 Colorado. The lack of offense has to be the most troubling part for the Aztecs as SDSU was unable to muster more than five goals against the two aforementioned top-level defenses.
Despite some struggles against ranked opponents, the Cardinal have successfully clinched a bid for the MPSF playoffs before the final stretch of the season and are tied with the Buffs for second in the conference standings at 5-1. Stanford can retake its place atop the regular season conference standings with an upset win against the undefeated and streaking Trojans.
The Cardinal’s important matchup against USC will be played on the Farm at Cagan Stadium at 5 p.m. Stanford will finish the regular season on Sunday at 1 p.m. against the Aztecs. Both games can be followed live on gostanford.com.
Contact Lorenzo Rosas at enzor9 ‘at’ stanford.edu.