Maddie Secco scored in the final three minutes of regulation to force overtime, but the sixth-ranked Stanford field hockey team opened its season with a frustrating, 2-1, loss to visiting No. 4 Syracuse on Friday.
The Cardinal continues its homestand Sunday with a nonconference match against No. 5 Duke.
The Orange scored in the eighth minute of play and constantly peppered senior goalkeeper Dulce Davies, who recorded 11 saves, including two during a frantic series of shots that eventually led to the game-winning goal.
"She brings a wealth of experience," Stanford coach Tara Danielson said. "She's been in every situation, every game since she was a freshman. She confident in any given situation. Sometimes you have to be on the lucky side."
Syracuse, which lost to Connecticut in last year's NCAA championship match, dominated play, outshooting the Cardinal, 22-5, and took 16 corners to Stanford's one.
It's exactly the kind of game Danielson expected and thinks it will only help her inexperienced squad.
"We'll be building through the season," she said. "I do expect my team to compete with anyone. This is a testament to our resiliency and tenaciousness. They want to improve themselves."
The Cardinal established several program standards in reaching the second round of the NCAA tournament for the first time a year ago.
Stanford recorded a school-best 19 victories, won 12 consecutive matches and reached No. 3 in the national ranking.
The Cardinal returned a solid group, but lost five key seniors to graduation, including first-team All-Americaan and Olympian Kelsey Harbin.
Davies, also an All-American, is Stanford's foundation. She was named Nor Pac Defensive Player of the Year. Secco, who played with the Canadian national team, is a returning all-region player. Katie Keyser is the reigning Nor Pac Rookie of the Year.
"We put ourselves in a position to win," Danielson saiod. "We played 70 minutes and capitalized on opportunities. It's game one and gives us an opportunity to look at ourselves. There's an autonomy to this team. They ask how to get better."
Secco scored the equalizer on the team's fourth shot of the contest, getting an assist from senior Lauren Becker.
Senior Jessica Chisholm, Becker, junior Fran Tew and junior Kristina Bassi also recorded shots for the Cardinal.