Sports


Cardinal women finish MPSF lacrosse with perfect mark

 

The Stanford women's lacrosse team set a school record for goals in a game by beating California, 25-9, on Sunday at Memorial Stadium, completing a perfect conference season.

Lucy Dikeou scored seven goals, tying a Stanford single-game record, as the Cardinal finished Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play at 9-0. Also, Stanford's 13-2 overall record tied another school mark for fewest losses in a regular season.

No. 15-ranked Stanford broke a 3-3 tie with three unanswered goals within 1:19. Mackenzie Tesei scored the go-ahead goal on an assist from Alexandra Crerend, and Hannah Farr and Crerend followed with two more quick strikes for a 6-3 lead.

After Cal (3-13, 2-7) closed to within 10-8 with 7:54 left in the first half, Stanford crushed the Golden Bears' hopes with a 15-1 run to close the game.

The 25 goals broke the Stanford record of 23, set in a 23-8 victory over Catholic in 1998 and matched with triumphs of 23-4 against UCLA in 1999 and 23-16 against San Diego State in 2013. Freshman Maggie Nick scored the record-breaking 24th goal with 4:19 left in the game.

Stanford entered the game as the national leader in goals per game, with 15.79. The Cardinal also led the nation in draw controls (16.07) and exceeded that with a 24-12 draw-control advantage against Cal.

Dikeou, the team's leading scorer with 39 goals and 50 points, scored only one goal for the first 22 minutes, but then went on a tear the rest of the way to key Stanford's homestretch run.

Her seven goals tied the school single-game record set by Sarah Flynn in a 20-7 victory over Saint Mary's in 2011.

She also had eight draw controls, two off the school record. It was her third eight-draw performance in her past six games.

Kyle Fraser scored five goals, Crerend four and Farr three (along with four assists). Crerend also had six draw controls.

Stanford next plays in the MPSF tournament April 30-May 3 in Denver.

The Cardinal has advanced directly to Friday's semifinals, for a 3 p.m. PT contest against the winner of Thursday's first-round game between No. 4 seed Colorado and No. 5 seed San Diego State. The championship will be played Sunday at 10 a.m. PT.

The MPSF tournament winner earns an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.

Women's water polo

Ashley Grossman, Jamie Neushul and Maggie Steffens each scored twice and the top-ranked Cardinal rode a dominant second half to a 9-6 victory over No. 3 USC and claim third place at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament in Tempe on Sunday.

Trailing 5-4 at the half, Stanford (23-2) scored the first three goals of the third quarter to turn a one-goal deficit into a two-goal advantage. The Cardinal scored five times in the second half.

"We played well from the beginning," Stanford coach John Tanner said. "USC had a three goal streak at one point that made it look like the tide was turning, but I never felt like we lost control. To come out in third quarter and get those three goals to go up 7-5 from down 5-4, that was huge."

Jamie Neushul led the charge with her second of the day at 6:14. Less than a minute later, Maggie Steffens fired her penalty shot off the crossbar, down and in to make the score 6-5 with 5:39 remaining in the third quarter.

With 1:40 on the clock, Kiley Neushul's perseverance paid dividends.

USC (22-5) was whistled for a contra foul and Gabby Stone took possession and surveyed the pool for Stanford. The Cardinal keeper lofted her pass up the pool to a streaking Neushul down the right side. The senior's cross-cage attempt from point blank range was blocked by Monica Vavic, but not controlled.

The ball floated in front of the goal for a split second, which Neushul used to pick it up and rifle a backhand past USC goalkeeper Victoria Chamorro.

"We talked about responding," Stanford senior Ashley Grossman said. "I think that's been one of our themes this season. It was about having more energy, a little bit more fire, and making today like a championship Sunday and I think we did. We worked together as a team. That was the difference."

Grossman did her part to close out the victory, the Cardinal's second of the year over USC. With 49 seconds on the clock in that important third quarter, Sohi fed Grossman's right hand inside. Her backhand attempt rattled the cage.

Grossman scored the game's final goal early in the the final period. With time running out on the shot clock, Steffens dumped it down low to Grossman, who caught, fired and scored all while creating space.

"We don't change things up a lot," Tanner said. "We do what we do. Our focus on defense was really good as was our sustained energy level. USC puts a lot of pressure on you at both ends of the pool. We stopped all but one of their six 6-on-5s, were resilient coming out of timeouts and made big plays in critical moments. There were numerous field blocks and Gabby Stone played a great game. There was much better balance at both ends than yesterday."

Stone made 11 saves, her fifth time this season in double figures, and the Cardinal recorded 12 field blocks to help dissipate USC's potent attack, which entered the weekend averaging 17.04 goals per game.

"Today was wonderful, but we're still the same team that played yesterday and played poorly," Tanner said. "We have a lot to clean up and move forward. There was some quality play, but a lot of grit. We can build off that. We'll improve and will be better two weeks from now."

Stanford hosts the NCAA tournament beginning May 8.

Sand volleyball

Stanford finished its third season on a good note Sunday, rallying from a deficit to beat host California, 3-2, in dramatic fashion.

The match came down to the final swing, a kill from junior Brittany Howard in the third set of a competitive game.

The Cardinal (11-4 overall) improved to 2-0 all-time against Cal.

Trailing 0-2 in the match, Stanford's top three pairs all posted victories to give the Cardinal the win.

Playing in the No. 1 spot, senior Lauren Birks and Howard clinched the win with a 21-16, 15-21, 15-11 win over Cal's Sarah Cole and Emily Lunt. Birks and Howard finish the season with a 13-7 overall record.

Birks and Howard trailed, 9-6, at one point in the third set before recovering for the win.

Stanford's No. 3 pair, junior Jordan Burgess and redshirt freshman Merete Lutz, put the Cardinal on the board with an 18-21, 21-18, 15-10 victory against Cal's Inanna Eshoo and Katie Regalia. The win pushed the pair's season record to 11-4.

Junior Madi Bugg and redshirt freshman Ivana Vanjak, playing in the No. 2 spot, evened the match for the Cardinal with a 21-16, 22-20 win over the Bears' Ashley Johnson and Emily Shults. Bugg and Vanjak moved to 13-5 for the year.

Stanford won the opening set at both No. 4 and No. 5, but Cal pushed each match to a decisive third set in which the Bears were victorious.

Playing at No. 4, sophomore Kelsey Humphreys and freshman Catherine Raquel end the season with a 5-8 record, while junior Inky Ajanaku and sophomore Grace Kennedy, playing at No. 5, finish 7-6.

Softball

Stanford ran into an Arizona offense that was firing on all cylinders Sunday, dropping a 22-5 decision in five innings.

The Wildcats (37-12, 12-6 Pac-12) took a commanding 15-0 lead after the first two innings and never looked back, taking advantage of Stanford's (16-32, 1-17 Pac-12) pitching staff comprised solely of position players due to injuries to starting pitchers. Three seniors also abandoned the team recently.

Despite the significant deficit, the Cardinal showcased its resiliency and continued to battle generating four runs in the third inning, leaving the bases loaded in the fourth and producing a run in the fifth.

Lauren Wegner hit the first home run of her career, while Kayla Bonstrom and Jessica Plaza homered as well. Plaza also doubled along with Tylyn Wells who registered her second double of the season.

"The team fought, battled and went up to the plate and swung hard," said Stanford coach Rachel Hanson. "It was great seeing Wegner get her first career home run, Bessie light it up offensively and defensively, and Plaza getting hot at the plate again."

Bessie Noll contributed a RBI single in the third inning. She has at least one hit in eight of the past nine games. Noll also made an outstanding diving catch in center field as she was running toward home on a hard line drive that was dipping.

"I don't think there's much that can stop her right now," said Hanson. "She can definitely hit the best pitching in the country and it's exciting to watch her develop."

Stanford returns to campus next weekend for its final home series of the season. The Cardinal hosts No. 23 Arizona State for a three-game series beginning Friday at 7 p.m.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Stanford Athletics

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