April 24, 2011
Chicago - In No. 7 Stanford's toughest test of the season, the Cardinal fell 12-11, at No. 5 Northwestern. The Wildcats who have won four of the past five NCAA titles outlasted the Cardinal in a back-and-forth, highly competitive game.
The Cardinal tied the score with under two minutes to play, but could not hold off Northwestern, a national power, who is currently holds the top RPI in the country. Northwestern's Shannon Smith scored seven goals to lead the Wildcats, while Emile Boeri paced the Cardinal with a hat trick.
Northwestern outshot Stanford 32-21 for the game, but Annie Read made 10 saves to keep things close. The Wildcats also had 17 draw controls to just eight for Stanford to hold possession for the majority of the game.
The Cardinal quickly fell behind 3-0 as Smith scored three goals for Northwestern in just over 10 minutes. Stanford responded, however, scoring three-straight goals of its own to tie the score at 3-3 with 11:21 to play in the first half.
Lauren Schmidt got the scoring going for Stanford as she drew a free position shot and then converted for her 28th goal of the season. Emilie Boeri then brought Stanford within one as she scored in her return from injury. Leslie Foard tied the game, also on a free-position goal, her 22nd free-position goal of the season and 36th overall.
The Cardinal would then fall behind 4-3, but regain the tie on a second goal from Boeri. However, Northwestern added a goal just before the half and Stanford trailed 5-4 at the break.
The Wildcats outshot Stanford 17-10 for the half and controlled seven of 10 draws. However, Read kept the Cardinal close with seven saves in the period.
The second half provided more back and forth action as the Cardinal fell behind further, 6-4, but then came back to tie it at 7-7 with 20:04 to play. Emilie Boeri
completed the hat trick, while Jacqueline Candelaria
and Catherine Swanson
also added a goal apiece.
Northwestern then stretched the lead back to three as Smith added her sixth goal of the game during the run.
The Cardinal refused to quit, getting a goal from Carolyn Bradley with an assist from Rachel Ozer to make it 10-8. Smith added a seventh goal to bring Northwestern's lead back to three, but Schmidt then added a second goal to make it 11-9.
As time winded down, Stanford caused a turnover that led to a Sarah Flynn goal at the 4:15 mark. Minutes later, Foard scored for a second time to bring Stanford all the way back to a tie at 11-11 with 1:33 to play.
The ensuing draw was won by Northwestern and it held for a final shot. This time Smith set up a teammate, Alex Frank and Northwestern retook the lead with just 23 seconds to play to give the Wildcats the game-winning goal.
The Cardinal could not win the final draw for a chance at a desperation shot and would end up one goal short.
Next up for Stanford is the MPSF tournament, hosted by St. Mary's. The Cardinal have clinched the top seed and will play California in the semifinal on Friday, April 29, at 1 p.m. The MPSF final should Stanford advance will be Sunday, May 1, at 1 p.m. The Cardinal would face the winner of Denver and Oregon in the other semifinal with an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament at stake.