ITHACA, N.Y. – Stanford prepared for its showdown against Notre Dame by producing an efficient and complete performance in a 17-9 nonconference women’s lacrosse victory over Cornell on Tuesday.
Meg Lentz and Alex Poplawski scored four goals apiece, and each joined Anna Kim and Emily Newstrom in contributing two goals each during a decisive 9-0 scoring run wedged during a span of 20 first-half minutes.
Stanford’s defense pressured Cornell into 15 first-half turnovers, allowing the No. 13 Cardinal to turn a brief deficit into a rout.
“We really wanted to make it difficult for Cornell to clear,” said Stanford coach Amy Bokker, whose team limited Cornell to only five clears from its defensive zone in 18 tries. “We wanted to play aggressive and come out with good energy. And we played a lot of great team defense.”
Those were some of the goals for Stanford (7-1) as it prepared for Saturday’s contest at No. 6 Notre Dame in a rematch of Stanford’s thrilling 7-6 victory in the first round of the 2013 NCAA tournament. Some other areas that Stanford must correct, Bokker said, include improving on draw controls and unforced errors, though Mackenzie Tesei came off the bench to earn three draw controls.
However, there were plenty to reasons to believe the Cardinal is on the right track. One area was passing in scoring situations. Freshman Kelsey Murray responded with four assists and the team totaled a season-high 11 in that department.
Another benefit was the continued maturation of freshman Poplawski, whose four goals were a collegiate career high and allowed her to extend her goal-scoring streak to eight – at least one in every game of her Stanford career.
The 6-foot midfielder is “smart, savvy, and a great target because of her size,” Bokker said. An emphasis was finding the cutters through the eight-meter arc, rather than trying to dodge their way through. Poplawski was ideal in that capacity, scoring on all four of her shots.
Lentz, a sophomore who also had two assists, equaled her high of four. Each was against an Ivy League opponent, after first scoring four against Harvard earlier this season. Lentz also has taken over the team season goal-scoring lead, with 15.
As for Notre Dame, the Irish is the highest ranked team Stanford will play during the regular season and the Cardinal’s final nonconference opponent before playing the bulk of its Mountain Pacific Sports Federation schedule.
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Stanford 17, Cornell 9
Stanford 11 6 – 17
Cornell 3 6 – 9
Stanford (goals-assists): Meg Lentz 4-2, Alex Poplawski 4-0, Kelsey Murray 2-4, Anna Kim 2-0, Emily Newstrom 2-0, Hannah Farr 1-2, Rachel Ozer 1-1, Alexandra Crerend 1-0, Lucy Dikeou 0-1, Mackenzie Tesei 0-1.
Cornell: Lindsay Toppe 3-1, Rachel Moody 3-0, Amanda D’Amico 1-1, Sarah Hefner 1-1, Kristy Gilbert 1-0, Emily Tripodi 0-2.
Records: Stanford 7-1, Cornell 4-4.