After routing Cal (5-13, 2-6 MPSF) 19-5 in the quarterfinals, Stanford women’s lacrosse (12-6, 6-2) ultimately couldn’t recover from a four-goal run in the final 10 minutes against second-seed Colorado (16-2, 7-1) losing by a final tally of 14-13 in the semifinals, ending their bid in the MPSF conference tournament in Los Angeles.
The Stanford offense turned on the jets offensively in the first round, netting eight consecutive goals after an early two goals from the Golden Bears. The Cardinal kept the foot on the pedal, recording a season-high 46 shots while also suffocating the Cal offense and allowing only 16 shots on the night.
Career-high performances from Cardinal senior Elizabeth Cusick and sophomore Areta Buness, who scored six and five goals, respectively, accounted for 11 of Stanford’s 19 goals in the contest.
In addition to the two, fellow senior and team leader in goals and points, Kelsey Murray also added a hat trick of her own while assisting two Cardinal goals.
Thursday’s victory extended head coach Amy Bokker’s undefeated record against Cal to 14-0 and continued a 15-game win streak over the Golden Bears.
Stanford continued its high-flying offense in Saturday’s semifinal match against the Buffs, going neck and neck with a strong Colorado offense in a heated first half that ended even at 6-6. Cardinal midfielders, freshman Daniella McMahon and junior Maggie Nick, led the pack, each scoring twice in the first half.
The Cardinal continued to play well offensively after the break, claiming a two-goal lead twice in the middle of the second half, yet the Buffs persisted through an 11-save performance from junior goalie Allie DaCar and never allowed the Cardinal to truly control the game.
After a goal from junior Dillon Schoen to reinstate the Stanford lead at 11-10 with nine minutes left in the game, Colorado called a pivotal timeout and subsequently marched to score four unanswered in the final stretch. The three-goal deficit proved too deep for the Cardinal despite two late desperation goals from Murray.
Murray’s last goal brought the game to within one with only a minute left on the clock, yet aggressive defense from the Cardinal ultimately couldn’t beat the clock as the Buffs moved on to the championship match. Colorado would eventually lose to host No. 6 USC (16-3, 8-0), which concluded its perfect conference season by defending its title.
Friday’s narrow loss in the semifinal ended the weekend early for Stanford as well as broke a 19-year streak of reaching the conference championship that spanned over three different conferences. The Cardinal still have hope to reach the NCAA tournament but will need to receive an at-large bid during the selection show on May 7.
Contact Lorenzo Rosas at enzor9 ‘at’ stanford.edu.