By Jeremy Rubin
On the road and competing for the first time since March 31, No. 16 women’s lacrosse (8-0, 6-0 Pac-12) took care of business over the weekend against Arizona State (7-4, 4-3 Pac-12) and USC (8-6, 5-3 Pac-12) to remain undefeated.
Both of the weekend’s victories came via one-goal margins on late scores, the second of which clinched the Pac-12 regular-season title for the Cardinal. The title is the team’s 15th overall, but its first since the formation of the league in 2018. With the win, Stanford will enter the Pac-12 Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed regardless of the result of the team’s final regular-season game on Saturday against Cal.
In the first game of the weekend, the Cardinal and the Sun Devils ran up the score and entered overtime tied at 21 apiece. It was a score from fifth-year midfielder Jacie Lemos — her fourth of the day — that pushed Stanford over the top.
Lemos, freshman midfielder Ailish Kelly and senior attacker Ali Baiocco each finished with four scores. Senior attacker Galen Lew led the way with a career-high five, including the shot that sent the game to overtime.
Although the Cardinal lost the turnover battle and were outshot by Arizona State, Stanford turned a 15-10 deficit early into the second half into the win.
A day later, Baiocco finished off the come-from-behind victory. With the score knotted at 15 and just 16 seconds remaining, she caught a pass from Lew and fired it into the back of the net to give Stanford the late lead.
Baiocco finished the day with eight scores, tying her personal high and the program’s high, both of which were set in the team’s season opener. Her 58 points pace the Pac-12, and she averages just under five goals per game on the season.
Lew added another three scores and a second assist; Kelly finished with a pair of goals and assists, sixth-year midfielder Genesis Lucero and senior attacker Katherine Gjertsen chipped in three points each on a combined two score and four assists; and sophomore midfielder Anna Griffith found the back of the net once to round out the tally against the Trojans.
Lucero also added 11 draw controls one day after finishing with 15 — the third-most in program history.
The team improved on the turnover margin from Saturday to Sunday and outshot USC 34-27 with ten more shots on goal.
The significant time off in between these games and the previous ones was “due to COVID-19-related issues and contact tracing within the Cardinal program,” according to Stanford Athletics, which forced the postponement or cancellation of games against UC Davis, Colorado and Oregon.
After going 3-4 in the seven games last season before the season’s cancellation, head coach Danielle Spencer’s team is off to its best start in years.
With the first overall seed in the Pac-12 Tournament already locked up, the Cardinal will close out the regular season against Cal on Saturday in Berkeley. Game time is at 12 p.m. PT.