May 10, 1999
STANFORD, Calif. - As the final whistle blew, seniors Carey Jones and Alexis Patrizio embraced in a hug that epitomized not only a superb season that ended in a Western Women's Lacrosse League championship, but also a career's worth of lacrosse at Stanford. It could not have been a better ending for the Cardinal's three seniors. The scoreboard read 11-7 in favor of Stanford (19-4, 10-1 WWLL), which captured its second consecutive championship against UC-Davis yesterday.
The essence of the moment was captured best as the song "Sweet Emotion" rang out from the loudspeaker, echoing the smiles and hugs from the champions. After seniors Jones, Patrizio and Stephanie Tuerk accepted the trophy for the Cardinal, buckets of water were dumped on various players and the cake fight began - there was no mistake that now it was time to celebrate. They certainly deserved it.
After a 23-4 blowout over UCLA on Saturday, Stanford advanced to the finals to face UC-Davis. Although the Cardinal had already beaten Davis twice this season, it wasn't making any assumptions about the final matchup. Without having faced a true challenge in the last few games, there was no way of knowing how the team would react to a higher level of play.
"Davis is always strong, especially toward tournament time," said sophomore Katharine Barnes. "They improved and picked up their intensity over the season and they came out strong."
Luckily Stanford had an answer for Davis.
"Davis' determination took us by surprise, so we had to adjust," Tuerk said. "In the end, our stick skills and our playing as a team showed that we were the better team."
The women were able to use their winning momentum from Saturday's game to propel them into the finals, where Davis kept them on their toes.
"On Saturday the women showed moments of greatness. It was fluid, exceptional lacrosse," said Stanford head coach Heidi Connor. "Today we played incredibly, but at moments Davis had control. We had to stay sharp the entire 60 minutes."
"It was important that we kept our focus for the whole time. Even when they got within two goals of us, instead of letting ourselves get rattled, we were able to keep focus," said junior Hedy Born, referring to Davis' three quick goals at the beginning of the second half bringing the score to 7-5.
In last year's WWLL championship game between Stanford and Davis, the Cardinal rallied from a 6-2 halftime deficit to win. So this year when the roles were reversed and Stanford held Davis at halftime 6-2, the women knew the game wasn't over.
"We knew that they could come back and it made us realize that we had to pick it up a notch," Patrizio said.
"We stepped up our intensity to play at a high level," Barnes said. "The team came together and played as well as we could."
Connor agreed that the championship was a team effort but also highlighted the play of Barnes and junior Christina Gilyutin.
"As always, Katharine Barnes gave 110 percent," she said. "She was able to rally the team to a victory by not only her play, but also her leadership and words on the field. Christina Gilyutin has an amazing way of keeping the defense together, she's my communicator on the field."
Leading the Cardinal in scoring was Barnes with three goals, Patrizio and Born with two and Jones, sophomore Kate Reilly and freshmen Sara Lev and Jenny Silverman each chipped in one.
The victory marked not only an end to a spectacular season, but also hope for national recognition in the future.
"This is what we were working for, to prove that we can dominate on the West Coast," Barnes said. "We are hoping to get an independent schedule. By winning this two years in a row, we are showing that we are the strongest team out here."
"It was fun to end on a positive note and it makes me really excited for what we will be able to do next year," she said. "We can only improve."
For the seniors, the game gave closure to a career of excellent lacrosse. Although they agreed that it will be sad to leave, they too are optimistic about the program in the future.
"It is an exciting time to be playing lacrosse at Stanford," Tuerk said. "The program has grown so much. I'm looking forward to seeing the team continue to improve and become a top-20 team in the next few years."
"We've come a really long way, our team didn't look like this during Fall ball," Patrizio said. "We managed to completely dominate, it was amazing for me being part of this team and watching it grow."
By Meghan O'Connor