By Niles Egan
Behind another hat trick from junior attacker Corrine Zanolli, Stanford field hockey claimed its second NCAA tournament win in program history. The No. 17 Cardinal (16-6, 4-0 America East) cruised to a 3-1 victory over Miami-Ohio (13-8, 5-1 MAC) in the opening round at home on Wednesday. Zanolli leads the nation in both goals (33) and points (69).
The Cardinal dominated Miami from start to finish. After neither team registered a shot in the first quarter, Stanford went on to outshoot the RedHawks 11-7. Zanolli broke open the floodgates with a dagger into the upper left corner of the goal five minutes into the second quarter. She was assisted by sophomore midfielder Fenella Scutt. Scutt is having a brilliant season of her own and is ranked third in the nation for assists per game (0.76).
The Cardinal then had four shots in the third quarter while holding Miami to none. Zanolli spectacularly scored twice in quick succession during the third and fourth minutes of the third quarter. The first came from a shot she made off of her own rebound. The second goal came when she hit a penalty stroke that ricocheted off of the goalkeeper’s stick into the net.
While Stanford’s offense came out in full force on Wednesday, the defense also contributed significantly. Miami did not score until there were less than two minutes left in the game. Senior goalkeeper Kelsey Bing registered three saves for the Cardinal.
The game against Miami marked Stanford’s 10th appearance in the NCAA tournament in the last 13 seasons and its first since 2017.
After the win on Wednesday, Stanford will advance to play No. 1 ranked North Carolina in Chapel Hill on Friday. The Tar Heels are the defending national champions and will almost certainly be the toughest team the Cardinal face this season. The odds are overwhelmingly in UNC’s favor, but if Stanford’s continues to play as well as they have, then they could very well surprise the Tar Heels.