April 14, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. -
In Saturday's Big Splash, which doubled as Senior Day at Avery Aquatic Center, it was freshman Kiley Neushul who stole the show with five goals in top-ranked Stanford's 11-5 win over No. 4 California.
The win, Stanford's 31st in a row over California, clinched a top-two seed for the Cardinal (20-1, 6-0 MPSF) in April 27-29's MPSF Championship, set to be held at Avery Aquatic Center. The Cardinal will travel to Los Angeles next weekend to take on No. 2 UCLA in the regular-season finale. The winner of that contest will earn the conference tournament's top seed.
Neushul's five goals paced the Cardinal scoring, as Kaley Dodson netted a pair and Cassie Churnside, Jillian Garton, Ashley Grossman and Pallavi Menon also put their names on the scoresheet.
Goalie Kate Baldoni made 10 saves to highlight a defensive performance in which the Cardinal held the Golden Bears (17-7, 4-3 MPSF) scoreless for the first 13:18 of the game.
That effort proved crucial to the game's outcome, as the Cardinal scored six times during that span to take a commanding 6-0 lead in just 11-and-a-half minutes.
Neushul bagged her first goal just 17 seconds into the game, converting a five-meter penalty shot that Churnside earned. Grossman would earn the Cardinal a second penalty shot on the next trip down, just 47 seconds later, but California goalie Lindsay Dorst would turn back Neushul, who tried to switch up Dorst by shooting to the goalie's right after scoring to her left on the first penalty.
The defenses held until 1:31 remained in the frame, as Neushul fired home in the run of play to double the Stanford lead. Menon would triple the lead with 36 seconds left, punctuating her Senior Day with a goal.
Grossman, Neushul and Garton would score the first three goals of the second period, Garton's coming with 4:25 to go before halftime, giving Stanford the six-goal lead. Baldoni and the Cardinal defense held the Golden Bears out of the net for nearly another two minutes before surrendering their first goal, as California's Dana Ochsner scored from close range.
The third period featured evenly-matched play from the two sides, with California gaining the upper-hand with three goals in the frame to Stanford's two. The Golden Bears cut the deficit to three twice late, first at 7-4 after a Kelly Mendoza goal with 1:06 remaining in the third, then at 8-5 with 5:56 to go in the game following Ochsner's second.
However, that would be as close as the Golden Bears would get, as Stanford answered right back as Dodson scored twice and Neushul for the fifth time over the next 1:32 to put the game out of reach.
California - 0 1 3 1 = 5
Stanford - 3 3 2 3 = 11
Stanford Goal Scorers: Neushul 5, K. Dodson 2, Churnside, Garton, Grossman, Menon
California Goal Scorers: Ochsner 2, Mase, Mendoza, Schroeder
Goalie Saves: Baldoni 10 (S); Dorst 6 (C)