No. 1 Stanford drops No. 4 Cal
Menon scores three goals to lead Cardinal title game
STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford booked its spot in the 2012 MPSF championship game with a 12-5 victory against California Saturday at Avery Aquatic Center.
Stanford (23-1) will take on the winner of Saturday's second semifinal between No. 2 UCLA and No. 3 USC.
Saturday's win marked the 12th consecutive for the Cardinal, and it's 31st in a row against California. Stanford has not lost to California since March 26, 2000.
Senior Pallavi Menon led all scorers with three goals Saturday, while Ashley Grossman, Alyssa Lo and Kiley Neushul each scored twice for the Cardinal. Cassie Churnside, Kaley Dodson and Kaitlyn Lo added goals for Stanford.
Kate Baldoni made seven saves while Emily Dorst made two as the Cardinal shut down the Golden Bears in the final 11:50 of the contest.
The Cardinal scored five goals on the power play, going 5-for-12 on its 6-on-5 opportunities in the contest. Three of those power-play goals came in the first half, leading to a 6-3 halftime advantage.
Stanford never trailed Saturday, and led for all but 1:29 of the contest. Dodson fired home a 6-on-5 goal just 27 seconds into the game to give the Cardinal an early lead. California's Breda Vosters evened things up at the 5:37 mark, but the Cardinal reclaimed the lead thanks to Churnside's goal just 1:02 later.
Neushul, Menon and Lo would score three of the next four goals to make it 5-2 Stanford before the teams traded goals within 28 seconds in the second frame to make it 6-3 Stanford.
California mounted a rally as the second half got underway, as goals from Vosters and Elizabeth McLaren sandwiched a Grossman goal to cut the lead to 7-5.
At this point the Cardinal defense stepped up, stopping multiple California chances to cut further into the lead. On the other end, the Cardinal put the Golden Bears on the back heel as Menon and Neushul scored with 39 and 13 seconds left in the period, respectively, to make it 9-5 heading into the final frame.
Stanford kept up the pressure as the fourth period got underway, as Grossman was able to turn around and fire home from two meters just 51 seconds into the frame. Minutes later, Alyssa Lo would score twice within a span of 54 seconds to put the Golden Bears to the sword.
After Lo's second goal at the 4:55 mark, Baldoni left the cage for Dorst, who continued the hold on the California offense with a pair of saves the rest of the way.