February 27, 2011

Stanford Avoids Upset with See-Saw Victory

from press release


Stanford's Nina Swanson advances up the sideline past the defense of Harvard's Tyler Petropulos during the Cardinal's 18-17 victory Sunday at Cagan Stadium.

© Zach Heffner/Verdict Photography

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Stanford improved to 4-0 with a hard-fought win over a tough Harvard squad, 18-17, Sunday afternoon at Cagan Stadium. The Crimson led early and overcame a five-goal second half deficit, but the Cardinal would not go away and eventually pulled out the one-goal win.

"It was a long week for us," said head coach Amy Bokker. "This was a really tough game, but we stayed in it and played tough."

The Cardinal trailed early as Harvard came out the aggressor, building a 2-0 lead. Stanford had yet to trail this season and it took it awhile to overcome the deficit. The Crimson built the lead to 9-5 with 6:47 to play in the first half before Bokker to a timeout to rally her squad. The timeout seemed to work as the Cardinal came out with renewed energy and rattled off four goals before half to head to intermission tied 9-9.

Leslie Foard scored the final goal of the half for a hat trick in the first period. Karen Nesbitt and Jacqueline Candelaria added two goals apiece in the half. Candelaria was particularly strong on Sunday, coming off the bench to give the Cardinal the spark it needed.

It took Stanford just 13 seconds in the first half for its first lead of the game as Karen Nesbitt dodged into the box for her third goal. The Cardinal would get two more to push the lead to 12-9, scoring eight consecutive goals dating back to the timeout in the first half.

Harvard would not go down easy, though, as it continued to come back and the Cardinal failed to contain the Crimson attack.

"The defense is something that is going to need to get better going forward," said Bokker.

Stanford built the lead to 16-11 at the 19:42 mark in the second half after Leslie Foard scored her fourth goal of the game, Candelaria notched the hat trick and Emilie Boeri added her ninth of the season.

The lead would not hold up, however, as Harvard came all the way back, scoring six-straight goals. Jenn Leffew of the Crimson had six goals for the game, including two in the final flurry.

Despite relinquishing the lead, Stanford dug deep to come from behind once again. Nesbitt tied the game at the 6:38 mark after dodging and then scoring on a shot from distance. It was the fourth goal of the game for Nesbitt who then played some defense after cards left the Cardinal short in the back.

The game stayed tied until the final minutes until Jacqueline Candelaria drew a foul to earn a free-position shot. Fittingly, Candelaria scored the game-winner, her fourth goal of the game, as Stanford was able to escape with the one-goal victory.

Annie Read and Lyndsey Munoz split time in goal with Read making five saves, including a couple big ones down the stretch. The Cardinal outshot Harvard 38-30 overall, but there was no shortage of offense from either side. The difference may have been Stanford's 22-15 edge in draw controls to create the extra possessions it needed.

Stanford will now head out on the road for the first time this season. After the four-game home stand, Stanford will now play five-consecutive games away from home. Next up is Ohio State, who the Cardinal will face on March 5 in Columbus.


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