April 15, 2006
Denver, Colo. - With the top spot in the conference on the line, the Cardinal women's lacrosse team battled back from a late deficit to defeat the Denver Pioneers, 11-9, at Pioneer Field this afternoon. With the victory, Stanford capped the longest winning streak in Denver history at 11 games, handed the squad its first conference loss of the year and became the first program to top the Pioneers at home this season. Stanford improves to 7-5 overall and finishes the conference season at 4-1. Denver falls to 13-3 overall, with a 4-1 mark in the MPSF.
Solid pressure defense on both sides kept the match scoreless for the first seven minutes of play. Junior Michelle DeChant broke open the scoring for Stanford in the eighth minute, when the attacker capitalized on her fourth free position shot of the year. The lead was short-lived, however, as Denver answered with goals by junior Kristie Leggio and senior Stephanie Greenlees to give the Pioneers the advantage. Freshman Jamie Nesbitt evened the score in the 17th minute with her first career free position goal. Anna Brown then propelled Stanford to a 3-2 halftime lead, scoring her sixth goal of the season with just over two minutes remaining in the period.
Junior Liz Piselli was the star of the second half, however, as the midfielder stepped up to play one of the best periods of her career. After Tanya Fuchs put the match into its third tie of the afternoon, Piselli caught fire and scored her first of four goals in the second half. She responded to Fuchs' tying goal within 25 seconds, and brought a surge of momentum to the Cardinal offense, spurring a three-goal run which would give the squad its largest lead of the match.
The Pioneers refused to give in, however, as Greenlees led Denver on a 6-2 run midway through the second half, which gave her team the lead with just under seven minutes to play. Piselli was far from finished though, as she came through for the Cardinal again with a free position goal to throw the match into a late tie. Nyerr Parham won the next draw control, and senior Sarah Bach capitalized on the key possession, scoring with just 3:07 left to play. Stanford sealed the win with a goal by sophomore Daphne Patterson with 29 seconds left on the clock.
Stanford was led by Piselli's four second-half goals, her seventh multiple-goal performance of the season. Patterson and Bach each contributed two goals, while DeChant, Nesbitt and Brown completed the Cardinal scoring tally. Laura Shane led Stanford on defense with 14 saves. Denver was led by the four goals of Greenlees.
With the win, Stanford ties for the best regular-season record in the MPSF. The squad now awaits the results of California's two final conference matches later this month to learn their seeding in the MPSF Tournament. The Cardinal finishes the regular season on the East Coast with a match against No. 18 Loyola next weekend, followed by meetings with Connecticut and No. 12 Cornell later this month. Opening draw with the Greyhounds is scheduled for 1 p.m. (EST) Saturday at Geppi-Aikens Field in Baltimore.