Harrisonburg, Va. - No. 15 Stanford had the upset in mind as it traveled across the country for its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2006. The Cardinal made a valiant effort, but in the end fell just short, losing to James Madison, 9-8. Stanford held a three-goal lead at the half, but could not hold off the second-half surge from JMU.
Stanford got off to a great start, scoring the first two goals and building a 7-4 halftime lead. The Cardinal outshot James Madison 15-11 in the half and secured six of 12 draw controls.
Catherine Swanson scored on free position chance to give Stanford the early 1-0 lead. Moments later Claire Hubbard found Sarah Flynn from behind the goal and Stanford led 2-0. The assist was the 41st of the season for Hubbard, an all-time Stanford record.
Stanford continued to control play throughout the half with Leslie Foard scoring three times. The hat trick for Foard was complete with a powerful shot from distance. Dana Lindsay and Lauren Schmidt also added goals as the Cardinal took the three-goal lead to the half.
James Madison came out with renewed intensity in the second half and scored three quick goals to tie things back up. In just over five minutes of play, the Cardinal lead had evaporated.
Over 11 minutes passed with the teams trading possession, but neither team able to claim the lead. Finally, the Dukes broke through with 13:36 remaining and took its first lead of the game. Mary Kate Lomady scored on a free position shot to finally beat Annie Read who had been steady in net.
Read finished the game with seven saves, including some crucial stops in the second half to keep the game close.
Trailing for the first time, Stanford rallied right back to tie the game. Swanson scored her second goal of the game taking the ball into and through the JMU defense for the equalizer.
At the 11:35 mark, Casey Ancarrow scored the game's final game, which proved to be the game-winner for James Madison.
Foard and Schmidt both had decent chances in the final minutes, but could not beat the swarming Dukes' defense and goalkeeper, Morgan Kelly, who had 10 saves.
James Madison regained possession with two minutes to play and the Cardinal appeared doomed. However, showing the resilience that has been a trademark of the team all season, Stanford did not give up. Despite being down a player, the Cardinal frantically chased the ball until Foard intercepted a pass and the Cardinal called timeout with 18 seconds to play.
Running out of time, Foard advanced the ball in an all out sprint to setup the play called in the timeout. Flynn broke free from behind the goal and tried a shot from a difficult angle that sailed wide. The play set up Stanford's most accurate shooter, but it was not to be. The final seconds ticked off and the Cardinal saw its season come to an end.
The loss was a difficult one to take, but mostly due to the level at which Stanford played all year. The team won a program-best 15 games and was ranked as high as No. 8 in the country, something no West Coast team has ever accomplished.