No. 14 Stanford Edges Ohio State in Cardinal Opener

STANFORD, Calif. -- Rachel Ozer scored four goals to lead No. 14 Stanford to a 11-9 nonconference women's lacrosse victory over Ohio State in a season-opener for the Cardinal at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium on Saturday.

Stanford (1-0) rallied from a 5-3 first-half deficit to take a 10-7 lead on Hannah Farr's goal with 11:20 left. Ohio State (2-1) twice cut the deficit to two, including on Kaila Gottlick's free-position shot with 2:44 left, but the Cardinal won the draw, went into a stall and ran out the clock.

The Cardinal put on a possession clinic down the stretch, controlling the ball for 6:46 of the final 7:27. During one stretch, Farr outscrambled the defense for over a minute, before finally seeing an open lane and bolting in for the score to give Stanford an 11-8 lead with 3:25 left.

After Gottlick's goal, Stanford's Alexandra Crerend took the draw and won possession, seemingly ensuring the victory. Fine passing, especially by Julia Burns, limited the Ohio State pressure and kept the Cardinal in control until the game ended.

“We talked about it in the timeout with about five minutes left,” Stanford coach Amy Bokker said. “We thought they were going to start pressuring out to get the ball back. We wanted to give our players the opportunity to score, but with a high percentage shot.”

Farr, who doubles as midfielder on the Stanford soccer team, is always among the best athletes on any field. But her ability to keep possession and escape being hounded by Buckeye defenders, was also an indication to the emphasis that Stanford coaches put on late-game possessions.

“Once under two minutes, we went into our stall play,” Bokker said. “ It was something we practiced going into the first game. But those things are really hard to simulate in practice and we do it over and over and over again to make it real. I was really proud of our team's effort down the stretch to show that we can have that confidence and poise and control.

“We definitely take a lot of pride in our fitness. It's moments like those that you really appreciate and see it pay off.”

Crerend, a sophomore transfer from Brown, made her mark in her first game for the Cardinal. She was a late add to the draw and made the play that kept Ohio State at arm's reach.

“That last draw was crucial,” Bokker said.

Ozer, Stanford's top scorer last year with 48, got off to a strong start. Bokker admired not only Ozer's scoring ability, but also the more subtle parts of Ozer's game.

“I don't think everyone realizes the little things she does in addition to scoring goals -- working off ball, attracting attention, riding hard to get the ball back,” Bokker said. “Those are things she does really well for us.”

Besides Ozer, and Farr (two goals), Stanford had five players with one goal apiece. Crerend's only goal that counted (a stick violation wiped away another apparent score) put the Cardinal ahead for good, at 8-7 with 16:08 left. Lucy Dikeou followed with a hard-charging goal that resulted in a collision and the ball in the net.

Lyndsey Munoz made six saves and had six ground balls.

Stanford plays its first three games at home, with Harvard up next with a Saturday game at 1:00 p.m.

Ohio State: Katie Chase 3-0, Jennifer Porretto 2-0, Jackie Cifarelli 1-2, Kaila Gottlick 1-0, Kelsea Ayers 1-0, Cian Dabrowski 1-0, Cara Facchina 0-1.

Stanford: Rachel Ozer 4-0, Hannah Farr 2-0, Lucy Dikeou 1-1, Julia Burns 1-0, Alexandra Crerend 1-0, Alex Poplawski 1-1, Meg Lentz 1-0, Paige Southmayd 0-1.

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