By Andrew Onodera
(BOULDER, CO) – In the second semifinal game of the inaugural Pac-12 Women’s Lacrosse Championship Tournament, the Stanford Cardinal powered their way back and escaped with a berth to the conference championship.
The first time these two teams met this season, the Trojans took the nationally ranked Cardinal to double overtime. In that game, Stanford was able to sneak by with a one-goal victory over their rivals from the south. From the very beginning of today’s game, the Trojans made it clear that they hadn’t forgotten about that tough loss from one month ago.
In the first half, Stanford jumped out to a quick one-goal lead thanks to Areta Buness’s goal just one minute into the game. However, Southern Cal stormed back with three goals of its own to take a 3-1 lead early in the first half. Stanford’s Ail Baiocco and Areta Buness went on to score two goals in 40 seconds to tie the game once again. The back-and-forth contest continued for the remainder of the first half before Stanford’s Kelsey Murray blew through the defense and scored two goals to give the Cardinal a 7-6 lead heading into halftime.
The second half started with a quick Stanford goal by none other than Areta Buness to give the second-seeded Cardinal an 8-6 advantage. USC responded by going on a 5-1 run and stealing an 11-9 lead. Kelsey and Kaeli Huff scored two of the five goals, while Sophia Donovan got her second of the game for the Trojans during the run. However, the Trojans’ lead proved to be short lived. Later in the half, Daniella McMahon led Stanford to score five unanswered to take a 15-13 lead.
Despite their best efforts, the Trojans couldn’t get much of anything going offensively when they needed it the most. Kelsey Huff scored one goal with 33 seconds left for USC to make things interesting, but, in the end, the Stanford Cardinal came out victorious by a score of 15-14.
With the win, the Cardinal advance to the inaugural Pac-12 Women’s Lacrosse Championship game where they will face the top-seeded Colorado Buffaloes. The Buffs are coming off of a 16-6 semifinal win over the Oregon Ducks.
The Pac-12 Championship will be played on Sunday April 29th at Prentup Field in Boulder, Colorado. The game will begin at 12:00pm (MDT) and will be shown live on the Pac-12 Network.