Stanford sophomore Mackenzie Tesei came off the bench to record her first collegiate hat trick and played an outstanding overall game to lead No. 17 Stanford to an 18-7 victory over California in a women's lacrosse regular-season finale Thursday at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.
In addition to her scoring, Tesei had team highs with five draw controls and three caused turnovers as Stanford (13-3 overall, 7-2 MPSF) secured at least a No. 3 seed for the six-team Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament, which begins May 1 in Denver.
The Cardinal can pick up a No. 2 seed and a first-round bye if Oregon (6-1 MPSF) loses either of its final two regular-season games, against first-place Denver (8-0) or Colorado (5-3). The MPSF tournament winner earns the conference's automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.
Hannah Farr also had three goals for Stanford and teammates Kelsey Murray, Meg Lentz, Paige Southmayd, and Anna Kim scored two apiece. Murray also had two assists.
Cal held a 3-1 lead after the first 21 minutes, but a Stanford timeout helped re-shape the game. Stanford responded with seven unanswered goals as part of a 17-2 run that lasted into the waning stages.
"Basically, we changed our attitude," said Kim, one of four graduating seniors playing in their final home game. "We came out ready to go."
Stanford is 7-3 in games in which it has trailed, but in each of its three losses, the Cardinal led in the game's late stages. In two of those games, Stanford was unable to holds leads of five or more goals. Those are the lessons that Stanford will take to Denver next week.
"Our team has to keep in mind that we need to come out with the same attitude as we did for the second half today," Kim said. "We lose our focus a little bit. We need to come out strong in every game and every half and be ready to play."
As if Stanford didn't have enough momentum with a 5-3 halftime lead, Tesei won the second-half draw and got the ball to Ozer on the run, and she punched it in after only 11 seconds had elapsed.
"When we went into the locker room at halftime, we didn't talk much about the opponent, we talked about us," Stanford coach Amy Bokker said. "We needed to stay aggressive to the net and find a way to get the shots off that we wanted to get off."
Ozer also was the one whose score sparked the decisive 7-0 run. Ozer and Farr are tied for the team-lead with 27 goals. Ozer now has 94 career goals, one away from 13th on Stanford's career list.
If Stanford is to win its ninth MPSF tournament in 10 years, the Cardinal will need to be more accurate in its shooting, Bokker said. The Cardinal made 18 of 35 shots Thursday and was 4-for-12 on free-position shooting.
"These games, both wins and losses, have been really reflective of our finishing," Bokker said. "Shooting is going to be a big part of it, and keeping pressure on other teams' defenses."
The game marked the last at home for Kim, defenders Megan Lerner and Nina Swanson, and goalie Lyndsey Munoz. Ozer, a senior graduating in atmosphere and energy engineering, will play a fifth year next season while co-terming (earning her master's) in mechanical engineering.
They have helped Stanford to a combined record of 51-22 during the past four seasons.