Lucy Dikeou and Hannah Farr scored four goals each and freshman goalie Allie DaCar made a career-high 14 saves to lead the No. 15 Stanford women's lacrosse team to a 12-6 victory over USC in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation showdown between undefeated squads Sunday.
The winner would assume sole possession of first and, indeed, Stanford (11-2 overall, 7-0 MPSF) now can clinch the top seed in the six-team MPSF tournament win a victory in either of its final two games -- at UC Davis on Wednesday or at California on Sunday.
USC (11-4, 7-1) must hope for a pair of Cardinal losses. The tournament champion earns the MPSF's automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.
A regular-season title also would allow Stanford to play host to next year's MPSF tournament. This year's will be at Denver from April 30-May 3.
The Cardinal defense stymied the Trojans, holding MPSF goals leader Michaela Michael to one goal and Caroline de Lyra, ranked No. 11 in the nation in assists, without an assist. Michael is a former Menlo School standout.
The primary marker on Michael, the reigning MPSF Player of the Week, was Adrienne Anderson, but the rest of the Cardinal defense lived up to its game plan of funneling the Trojans into non-threatening positions, making DaCar able to better anticipate where the shots would come from. The six goals allowed were the fewest by DaCar in a complete game.
Though USC scored first, Stanford got three consecutive goals by Dikeou over a six-minute span to take a 4-1 lead it would not relinquish.
As is her norm, Dikeou played a complete game -- nabbing two draw controls, forcing two turnovers, grabbing two ground balls, playing outstanding defense when put in the back zone late in the game, and using her quickness to help control possession as the clock wound down.
Farr's four goals were a season high for the reigning MPSF Player of the Year and 2014 All-America. She also had two draw controls and a groundball.
Utah avoided a Pac-12 baseball sweep Sunday, knocking off host Stanford, 11-3, at Klein Field at Sunken Diamond.
Utah (13-22, 5-10 Pac-12) scored early and often against Cardinal starter Andrew Summerville (3-1), who took the loss.
The lefty ended a streak of 12 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings when the Utes got to him for three in the first and two more in the second inning.
Utah accumulated 16 hits in the contest against six Cardinal pitchers.
Jack Klein had two infield singles and an RBI to lead the Cardinal.
Stanford (16-21, 4-11 Pac-12) won its second straight Pac-12 series by taking the first two games. Drew Jackson was 7-14 (.500) in the three-game set with three doubles, three RBI and five runs scored.
The Cardinal stays home to face California Tuesday and UCLA Friday through Sunday. The Pac-12 Networks will carry three of the next four games and ESPNU is scheduled to air Saturday's game.
No. 14 Stanford earned a victory over No. 11 Wisconsin in the varsity eight to close out the Pac-12 Challenge at Redwood Shores.
The Cardinal varsity eight finished the weekend with wins over Wisconsin and No. 17 Oregon State to give them four straight wins.
"We made a lot of improvements this week and were able to improve our speed and drop our time by about 10 seconds," Stanford sophomore stroke seat Ryan Hails said. "It led to some really nice results this weekend."
Stanford pulled ahead early on and maintained the advantage throughout, finishing with a time of 5:51.3. The time was 3.5 seconds faster than the Badgers.
"We came together as eight guys and for the first time from the very start we moved as eight," said Hails. "Synching up gave us a lot of speed. We are looking forward to getting back out there this week because we know we still have speed to gain."
The 2V8 and 3V8 is also still trying to find the right mix of guys to find that maximum speed.
The Badgers won the 2V8 by 8.5 seconds over Stanford, which finished in 6:08.4.
The Wisconsin 3V8 posted a faster time than its second varsity eight and ran away with the race. Stanford posted a time of 6:17.0.
Stanford dominated action at the PCCSC championships hosted by UC Santa Barbara over the weekend, winning 19 of the 24 combined races.
The Cardinal took the lead following the B squad's victory in its first race and never looked back. Stanford finished no lower than fourth in any single race.
Erin Ashby hit a grand slam and seven Stanford players combined for 10 hits, but it was not quite enough to upset No. 1/2 Oregon as the Cardinal fell, 12-8, on Sunday.
For the second game in as many days, Stanford (16-28, 1-13 Pac-12) gave the Ducks (37-5, 15-2 Pac-12) all they could handle. Each time it seemed Oregon was pulling away, the Cardinal responded with timely hits, good defense and quality pitching to close the gap.
"It was a great game for the team and the fans," said Stanford head coach Rachel Hanson. "We did what we do best -- fight hard from start to finish. It was a great team effort all around."
It was another impressive showing by Stanford's pitching staff, which consists solely of position players due to injuries to starting pitchers. Kylie Sorenson, Kayla Bonstrom (0-2), Ashby and Tylyn Wells permitted just four earned runs on 12 hits and eight walks.
Ashby paced the Cardinal with 3.2 innings in the circle and held the Ducks offense to six runs -- zero earned -- three hits and two walks, while striking out two. She has permitted just three earned runs on eight hits and four walks in 5.2 innings during two games this weekend against Oregon.
Ashby provided a key moment offensively as well, hammering a grand slam on a 3-2 pitch in the bottom of the sixth inning to cut Oregon's lead at the time to 10-8. It is her fourth home run on the year. Ashby finished the game 1-for-3 with five RBI, two runs and a walk.
"Erin provided great senior leadership today with her pitching and the grand slam," said Hanson.
Bessie Noll extended her hitting streak to five games, going 2-for-4 with a double and a single. She has six hits over the past five games, consisting of three home runs, a double and two singles.
Stanford got great production from the bottom of its lineup with eight and nine hitters, Kaitlin Schaberg and Kaitlyn Lagattuta, both going 2-for-4 and delivering hits in key moments. Both scored on Ashby's grand slam and Schaberg contributed two RBI.
Wells and Bonstrom also continued their consistent contributions at the plate, registering a hit apiece.