Final stats in PDF Format
April 26, 2009
STANFORD, Calif. -
Stanford continued its conference dominance in women's lacrosse by winning its fifth consecutive Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championship on Sunday, beating rival California, 18-13, in the tournament final at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.
Leslie Foard scored a collegiate career high five goals and had an assist, and sophomore Karen Nesbitt captured tournament Most Valuable Player honors after a three-goal, two-assist, and three-draw control performance to lead Stanford (12-4), the No. 14-ranked team in the country.
The game featured seven ties and three lead changes in the first 25 minutes before Stanford got consecutive goals from Karen Nesbitt, Jamie Nesbitt and Foard to rally to a go-ahead 9-7 lead. Stanford extended the margin thereafter, despite five goals from Alex Tickner of Cal (8-11).
For first-year Stanford coach Amy Bokker, a 13th-year collegiate head coach, it marked her first conference tournament title since her freshman year at William and Mary in 1992. For Stanford's veteran players, they have known nothing else.
"It means a lot," Karen Nesbitt said. "And it gives us another chance at hopefully getting an NCAA bid. We want to dominate conference every year and work on getting further and further in the NCAA Tournament."
The MPSF does not have an automatic bid this season, though it expects to have one in 2010. Stanford can continue to fortify its case with two nonconference games remaining, including a final home game Thursday (3 p.m.) against Louisville before taking its chances on an at-large selection to the 16-team NCAA tournament.
Until then, Stanford can enjoy another conference championship trophy, its 12th in 15 years. After winning every conference match by at least seven goals, this one seemed markedly tougher for the Cardinal. Cal came out with an inspired effort, and it seemed the fit the pattern of the rest of the tournament, which featured a stunning 16-14 first-round upset by UC Davis over preseason favorite Denver, and Cal's dramatic 10-9 semifinal victory over No. 2 seeded Oregon.
"Obviously, the MPSF brings it in tournament time," Bokker said. "Everybody was ready to compete. We were hoping to come out with a lot of energy and be prepared. I thought, particularly in the second half, we did that.
"At first, we were trying to force some things, but once we found our rhythm, we took advantage of our opponents. I knew we'd get it going."
By getting it going, that meant getting contributions from a wide-ranging array of players. Foard followed her three-goal performance against UC Davis with an even bigger game. Eleanor Foote, a junior who has recently joined the starting defensive lineup, caused four turnovers and had four ground balls. Sophomore Ashley Aruffo broke down the Cal defense with several coast-to-coast runs. And Lauren Schmidt, the MPSF Player of the Year, had three goals and two assists for the Cardinal.
Bokker, however, felt Karen Nesbitt did a little of everything.
"I thought she was the best player," Bokker said. "She was getting draw controls, playing defense, marking players, and scoring goals. She was doing it all."
Nesbitt was surprised at the honor.
"Everyone on this team clicked in this tournament," Nesbitt said. "Contributions came from everybody."
Among those was senior Jamie Nesbitt, Karen's sister, who had two goals and played a strong defensive game.
"I love playing with my sister," Karen said. "At first I was a little nervous. I didn't know if she was going to like me, or get sick of me. But being here and being with her is probably one of the best things I could have done."
Now, they have another shared experience, lifting a championship trophy - again.
So, how much has Stanford dominated conference play? Here are some accomplishments to consider:
12 conference titles in 15 years
All-time postseason record (including 2006 NCAA game): 31-4
Record in conference tournaments: 31-3
Conference tournament record since 1998: 28-1
Record in conference championship games: 12-1
Record in MPSF tournament play: 13-1
Record in MPSF championship games: 5-1
Winning streak in MPSF tournament play: 12
Last loss in MPSF tournament play: 2004
Current conference winning streak (including regular season): 11
Consecutive conference titles: 5
Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championship Tournament Final
At Laird Q. Cagan Stadium, Stanford
Stanford 18, California 13
California 8 5 - 13
Stanford 11 7 - 18
C - Alex Tickner (5 goals-1 assist), Alyse Kennedy (3-0), Elizabeth T Jahp (2-0), DennaFaye Herald (2-2), Molly Everett (1-0), Catie O'Mahoney (1-0), Vail Horn (0-1), Sam Price (0-1).
S - Leslie Foard (5-1), Karen Nesbitt (3-2), Lauren Schmidt (3-2), Julie Christy (2-0), Jamie Nesbitt (2-0), Claire Hubbard (1-3), Sarah Flynn (1-1), Bess Siegfried (1-0), Ashley Aruffo (0-2).
Goalies - C: Morgan Dyson 45:25, 13 GA, 9 saves; Allie Shropshire 14:35, 5 GA, 0 saves. S: Annie Read 60:00, 13 GA, 5 saves.
Records - Stanford 12-4, California 8-11.
MVP: Karen Nesbitt, So., M, Stanford
Leslie Foard, So., M, Stanford
Eleanor Foote, Jr., M, Stanford
Jamie Nesbitt, Sr., M, Stanford
Deanne Faye Herald, Jr., D, Cal
Alex Tickner, Jr., M, Cal
Alyce Kennedy, Jr., M, Cal
Britt Farquharson, Jr., M, UC Davis
Jacklyn Taylor, So., M, UC Davis
Ilsa VandenBerg, Sr., A, Oregon
Casey Rector, Sr., M, Oregon
Karen Morton, Sr., M, Denver
P.J. Hainley, Sr., M, Saint Mary's
Christina Cabias, So., D, Fresno State