Feb. 26, 2012
UCI Invitational Central
IRVINE, Calif. - Top-ranked Stanford suffered its first setback of the 2012 campaign, dropping a 5-4 decision to No. 3 UCLA in the championship game of the UCI Invitational Sunday in Irvine.
The Cardinal (11-1) earned a split Sunday, routing No. 4 California, 13-5, in the semifinal round. Stanford returns home for a pair of games next weekend, hosting Long Beach State Saturday, March 3 and UC Irvine Sunday, March 4. Both contests are set for 1 p.m. starts.
Kiley Neushul scored six goals Sunday, bringing her total haul for the weekend to a team-leading 12. Fellow freshman Ashley Grossman added five goals Sunday, including four in the victory over California.
Stanford's season-opening unbeaten run ended with a tough one-goal loss in Sunday's championship game. Each team's defense played up to its reputation, as Cardinal goalie Kate Baldoni made nine saves and her UCLA counterpart, Caitlin Dement, made 14 saves, including one at the buzzer, to stymie the Cardinal attack.
Neither team led by more than a goal in the final, with Stanford taking an early lead through Grossman's goal. UCLA equalized through Natasha Schulman minutes later. The teams traded goals again in the second period, leading to a 2-2 deadlock at halftime.
Stanford regained the lead at the start of the second half, with Kaley Dodson winning the opening sprint and Jillian Garton firing home on the ensuing possession. The lead was short-lived, though, as UCLA's KK Clark answered right away to equalize at 3-3.
Neushul lobbed a goal over Dement's hands moments later to put Stanford back in front, but again, the Bruins equalized, this time through Emily Greenwood. The third period came to an end with the teams even at 4-4.
Clark opened the fourth period scoring, putting the Bruins ahead 5-4 early in the final frame. At this point, the defenses would take over, neither conceding an inch the rest of the way. Clark would miss a five-meter penalty late, and Stanford would have two chances in the final minute saved by Dement as the Bruins captured the tournament crown.
Garton, Grossman, Neushul and Cory Dodson netted Stanford's goals in the title game.
Earlier in the day, Stanford throttled cross-bay rival California, scoring six goals in the opening period. California netted three of its own, and one more in the second to make it 6-4 at the break.
Yet the Cardinal offense reared its head again, exploding for five goals in the third frame to take a commanding 11-5 lead. Two more goals in the fourth frame combined with the defense keeping the Golden Bears off the board accounted for the final tally.
Neushul netted five goals and Grossman four in the win. Goals were also added by Monica Coughlan, Kaley Dodson, Alyssa Lo and Kelsey Suggs.
Baldoni made eight saves in the semifinal win, while freshman Emily Dorst saw action in the final period, stopping one shot.
California - 3 1 1 0 = 5
Stanford - 6 0 5 2 = 13
California Goal Scorers: Dodson, Mase, McLaren, Mendoza, Vosters
Stanford Goal Scorers: Neushul 5, Grossman 4, Coughlan, K. Dodson, A. Lo, Suggs
Goalie Saves: Baldoni 8, Dorst 1 (S); Dorst 2, Smith 2 (C)
UCLA - 1 1 2 1 = 5
Stanford - 1 1 2 0 = 4
Stanford Goal Scorers: C. Dodson, Garton, Grossman, Neushul
UCLA Goal Scorers: Clark 2, Greenwood, Orozco, Schulman
Goalie Saves: Baldoni 9 (S); Dement 14 (UCLA)