On Sunday afternoon, the Stanford lacrosse team made history when they held up a banner that read “2018 Women’s Lacrosse Tournament CHAMPIONS” at Prentup Field at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The No. 2 seeded Cardinal had just defeated the No. 1 seed, Colorado, 15-6 and won the first-ever Pac-12 women’s lacrosse tournament.
The title and its significance is grand for the Stanford team, currently ranked 13th nationally. But, the season is far from over; the Cardinal attained an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament via this win, and so the real fun is yet to begin.
On Friday, the Cardinal almost lost their spot in the tournament before a dramatic second-half turnaround that led to a win against USC. A tight 15-14 win came after a 10-13 deficit in the second half that seemed to be the end for Stanford. The premonition, though, was overturned when sophomore Danielle McMahon scored three goals in 10 minutes, giving the Cardinal the momentum it needed to push forward rather than relent. Junior midfielder Areta Buness led the team with four goals, the first coming a minute and a half into play.
Graduate student attacker Kelsey Murray put two in, and freshman midfielder Taylor Scornavacco contributed one.
Although the Cardinal led at halftime and managed to be the first to score thereafter, the Trojans gave it their all, scoring five quick goals and taking an 11-9 lead which soon became 13-10. Stanford retaliated with five goals and the Trojans only got one more in before the final whistle.
Sunday’s game, despite being the finals, was less theatrical than the semifinals that came before it. Despite a relatively high scoring game against Colorado for the Cardinal, the real highlight of the tournament was the team’s unsurpassable defense. Senior goalkeeper Allie DaCar impressed audiences as she held her ground in goal against the best teams on the West Coast. DaCar’s stick and body were everywhere as opponents’ offenses tried to net the ball in new ways to get it past her.
DaCar made a career-high 14 saves and a team-high five ground balls on Sunday. Overall saves for the weekend were at 24, with a .545 save percentage. DaCar was named Tournament MVP at the end of the weekend.
Midfielders McMahon and senior Kelly Myers were of great aid to DaCar, and were named onto the Pac-12 All-Tournament Team. Scornavacco had two ground balls, senior midfielder Maggie Nick had four ground balls and three draw controls and junior defender Julia Massaro added two ground balls and three draw controls. Overall, Stanford kept 24 ground balls to Colorado’s 23. The team also made the Buffaloes commit 13 turnovers and held them to a third of their free positions.
Buness and freshman attackers Galen Lew and Ali Baiocco each scored three times against the Buffaloes, allowing the team a 7-2 lead at the break and a continued lead throughout. Scornavacco added two, senior Dillon Schoen netted one, McMahon one and Murray two. The team managed to keep the home team at bay on both ends of the field, allowing them to cruise onto the podium and into the NCAA Championships. The selection show for the tournament will be on May 6 at 6 p.m.
Contact Laura Sussman at laura111 ‘at’ Stanford.edu