Elliot Olshansky, NCAA.com
It didn’t take long for one of the top 10 teams in the nation – according to the IWLCA Division I poll, anyway – to take a loss.
No. 10 Notre Dame came out of the gate strong on Friday with a 20-6 win over California, but the Fighting Irish took became the first Top 10 team to take a tumble on Sunday, as No. 13 Stanford scored the game’s final two goals for a 13-12 win at Cagan Stadium in Palo Alto.
“It was important for us to set the tone for our season by beating a top-10 team today,” said third-year head coach Amy Bokker, who called the Cardinal’s performance “one of the best team efforts I have ever coached.”
Junior midfielder Emilie Boeri paced the Stanford offense with a hat trick, including two of the Cardinal’s first three goals. Twin sister Anna, who assisted on Emilie’s game-opening tally less than two minutes in, scored the fourth goal, then added two more assists, including Sarah Flynn’s goal that tied the game at 12 goals apiece with 6:53 remaining.
Meanwhile, Notre Dame goaltender Ellie Hilling, who’d made 13 saves on 19 shots in the Irish’s win over Cal, was limited to 8 saves on 21 shots on Sunday afternoon.
Next up, the Cardinal will face Fresno State on Wednesday night, and will have little time to rest before the next top 10 team comes to town. Preseason No. 5 Syracuse will open its season on Thursday against Colgate, then fly out to California for a Sunday afternoon tilt with the Cardinal at 1 p.m. PT. Notre Dame, meanwhile, won’t see its schedule get any easier, as preseason No. 2 Northwestern will visit South Bend on Saturday afternoon for its season opener.
NEED TO KNOW
• A top five preseason pick in the IWLCA Division II poll, Limestone will have to find its form quickly when the Saints start regular-season play, as visits from No. 6 Mercyhurst and No. 10 Gannon are included in the South Carolina school’s first four games. However, the Saints prepared themselves for the stern challenges ahead by playing in North Carolina’s “South of the Border” tournament on February 6. Limestone scrimmaged against Division I programs Longwood, Vanderbilt and High Point. A fourth D-I scrimmage scheduled for this past Saturday, against Davidson, was canceled, but there’s little doubt that the Saints are primed to hit the ground running on Saturday, when they face Erskine in a Conference Carolinas game.
• After becoming just the sixth women’s lacrosse program to win 10 games in its first season, No. 17 Florida showed that it means business on Saturday by taking No. 3 North Carolina to overtime before falling, 10-9. The Gators got four goals from sophomore midfielder including one that put Florida ahead, 7-6, with 14:20 remaining in the game. Ashley Bruns added another goal just over a minute later to give the Gators a two-goal lead, but Corey Donohoe and Kara Cannizzaro scored 23 seconds apart to tie it up at 8, sending the game to overtime. The teams traded goals in the first extra session, but Donohoe’s fourth tally of the game with seven seconds remaining allowed the Tar Heels to pull out the win. “We’re happy to get out,” UNC head coach Jenny Levy said. “Florida’s a good team.”
• The NESCAC promises to be one of the toughest conferences in Division III this season, if not the toughest. Seven of the conference’s 11 schools appear in the IWLCA’s preseason Top 20, led by three schools – No. 7 Trinity (Conn.) No. 8 Colby, and No. 9 Williams – in the top 10. No. 12 Tufts is next, followed by No. 14 Middlebury, No. 18 Amherst and No. 19 Bowdoin. With such a loaded conference, the action’s bound to start early: Williams and Colby will play on March 12, in the season opener for both teams.
• Defending NCAA Champion Maryland got a pair of career-best performances in its season-opening 18-7 win over Richmond. Junior attacker Karri Ellen Johnson scored seven goals to lead the top-ranked Terrapins, while senior attacker Sarah Mollison tied a school record with six assists to help the reigning champs wash the Spiders out.
• A turnover in the coaching department hasn’t affected perceptions of Union. The Dutchwomen, who went 11-7 last season under Jessica Critchlow and were runners up to Hamilton in the Liberty League Championship, were ranked 11th in the IWLCA preseason poll, with new head coach Abigail Jackson coming aboard.
• Former Division I program LeMoyne figures to make a splash in the D-II ranks. The Dolphins, who went 9-6 as a Division I program last season, with wins over Bucknell, Siena and NLC Champion Longwood, among others, were ranked seventh in the Division II IWLCA Preseason Poll. LeMoyne has received a wavier from the NCAA, making it possible for the Dolphins to immediately compete for postseason championships this season without going through a two-year period of ineligibility during the reclassification process.
• No. 4 Duke got a balanced effort on Saturday in its season-opening win over Ohio State. Juniors Kat Thomas and Emma Hamm scored four goals each, with senior Christie Kaestner, sophomore Makenzie Hommel and freshman Maddie Salamone scoring three goals apiece in a 21-9 win over the Buckeyes.
• No. 11 Vanderbilt got its season off to a ferocious start on Saturday, scoring seven goals in the first six minutes – including an Ally Carey goal just 17 seconds into the game – en route to a dominant 22-3 victory at Presbyterian College. Junior goalkeeper Natalie Wills was not forced to make a save in the first half, and yielded to sophomore Chelsea Pasfield at halftime.