Stanford fell into a hole early and never fully recovered during a 13-8 loss to Duke in the first round of the NCAA women’s lacrosse tournament on Friday at Notre Dame.
No. 19-ranked Stanford (14-5) allowed three goals in the first 59 seconds and didn’t earn its first possession until the Cardinal trailed 3-0. However, Stanford rallied to within a goal and was within two in the final minutes before No. 9 Duke (10-7) essentially scored three empty-net goals in the final two minutes for the closer-than-the-score-indicates final margin.
“You’ve got to be ready from the first draw and that happened to us in the past two games,” said Stanford coach Amy Bokker, whose team fell behind Denver 6-0 in a 14-11 loss in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament final last week.
“I did think we could recover,” Bokker said. “We’ve had deficits early in games before. But a lot of credit to Duke, they did a good job of going hard to the net and taking advantage of what we gave them. We dug ourselves a hole and it was really hard to recover.”
Alexandra Crerend led Stanford with three goals and five draw controls – both season-highs for the sophomore transfer from Brown. It was her first multi-goal game for Stanford.
Stanford closed to within 4-3 after consecutive goals by Crerend and Meg Lentz, the latter after a quick pass into the middle from Hannah Farr on a free position, with 6:14 left in the first half.
With Stanford a player up because of a Duke yellow card, the opportunity seemed there to tie the game. Farr did get a shot off during the penalty, but the Blue Devils countered with two shorthanded goals to bolt to a 6-3 lead.
Stanford was forced to chase thereafter. Needing to put consecutive goals together to truly rally, Stanford was unable to do so, though the Cardinal continued to apply the pressure. However, they continued to have trouble cracking the interior of the Duke defense.
“Their defense played really well, but I thought we needed to do a better job of driving hard to the net and getting our shoulders in and creating opportunities for ourselves,” Bokker said. “We have some really great dodgers on our team. We just need to play fierce.”
Crerend scored twice in a three-minute span of the second half to bring Stanford within 7-5 and the teams continued to trade goals as the clock wound down.
With 8:51 left, freshman Kelsey Murray made a run from behind the Duke goal, cut across the middle, and fired a shot over the shoulder of Duke goalie Kelsey Duryea to cut the Stanford deficit to 10-8, but the Cardinal would draw no closer.
Duke began to stall, spreading the field and drawing the Stanford defense out. Stanford appeared to concede a goal to in an effort to gain possession off the faceoff. With 1:57 left, Stanford sophomore goalie Katie Wiseman, making her first collegiate start, left the crease to guard a Blue Devil on the wing. Duke indeed scored, but Stanford failed to control the draw and Duke added two official empty-net goals, after Wiseman left the field.