The darkness has long settled into Stanford’s late-afternoon practice sessions when the Cardinal begin to really work.
In trying to simulate the final minutes of a close game, coach Amy Bokker puts her players through repeated ball-posessions drills on weary legs. The goal was specifically what Stanford did on Saturday in its season-opening 11-9 victory over visiting Ohio State – running opponents into submission.
Stanford controlled the ball for 6:46 of the final 7:27 to keep the Buckeyes from threatening.
“Those things are really hard to simulate in practice and we do it over and over and over again to make it real,” Bokker said. “I was really proud of our team’s effort down the stretch to show that we can have that confidence and poise and control.
“We definitely take a lot of pride in our fitness. It’s moments like those that you really appreciate and see it pay off.”
Rachel Ozer scored four goals to lead the No. 14 Cardinal at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium. Stanford (1-0) rallied from a 5-3 first-half deficit to take a 10-7 lead on Hannah Farr’s goal with 11:20 left. Ohio State (2-1) twice cut the deficit to two, including on Kaila Gottlick’s free-position shot with 2:44 left, but Ohio State would not possess the ball again.
During one stretch, Farr outscrambled the defense for over a minute, before finally seeing an open lane and bolting in for the score to give Stanford an 11-8 lead with 3:25 left.
After Gottlick’s goal, Stanford’s Alexandra Crerend took the draw and won possession, seemingly ensuring the victory. Fine passing, especially by Julia Burns, limited the Ohio State pressure and kept the Cardinal in control until the game ended.
“We talked about it in the timeout with about five minutes left,” Stanford coach Amy Bokker said. “We thought they were going to start pressuring out to get the ball back. We wanted to give our players the opportunity to score, but with a high percentage shot.”