Oregon set to host 2019 Pac-12 Women's Lacrosse Tournament
The second year of Pac-12 lacrosse featured another exciting season that was determined in the final week as USC claimed the regular-season title with a 9-1 Conference mark, finishing the year at 14-3 overall. All six league teams head to Eugene, Ore., for the 2019 Pac-12 Women’s Lacrosse Tournament hosted by the University of Oregon at Papé Field from April 25-28. The winner of the tournament secures the Conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Half of the field is ranked in the IWLCA top-25 poll with USC at No. 17, followed by No. 20 Stanford and No. 22 Colorado. The Trojans are the top seed in the league tournament after capturing its first-ever Pac-12 regular-season title, closing out the regular season with a triumphant 16-10 victory over Arizona State. Prior to the Pac-12’s formation of a lacrosse league, the Trojans won the MPSF (Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) Championship in 2016 and 2017, giving them three regular-season titles in four years, including this season’s win. USC is tied for the sixth-best record in the country while seven-year head coach Lindsey Munday improved to 93-41 all-time. USC tops the Conference in eight statistical categories including save percentage (.502), scoring defense (8.47) and scoring margin (5.29), which also ranks Nos. ninth, eighth, and 14th in the country, respectively.
The Trojans’ defense is led by sophomore goalie Riley Hertford, who paces the league in goals-against average (8.63), save percentage (0.494) and ground balls per game (3.31), which all rank in the top-15 nationally. With 10 returning starters and six newcomers, the Trojans returned top talent in junior All-American and 2018 Pac-12 Midfielder of the Year Kerrigan Miller, who ranks 15th in the country in caused turnovers (2.12). USC vies for its fourth all-time NCAA Tournament bid after making three-straight appearances from 2015-2017 and has earned an IWLCA final ranking each of the last three seasons.
No. 22 Colorado finished the regular-season with a 9-6 overall record and went 8-2 in Pac-12 play to secure the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament. Senior Miranda Stinson leads the league in goals (53) and is second in points (66), averaging the fifth-best NCAA mark in shots per game (8.60) and eighth-best shots on goal per game (6.13). Stinson broke the Colorado single-game record with eight goals against California on March 10 to earn Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honors. Colorado captured the inaugural Pac-12 regular-season title last year and hosted the league tournament falling to Stanford in the championship game. The Buffaloes look to make their third-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance after advancing to the second round with a 23-18 win over Jacksonville last season.
Defending Pac-12 Tournament Champion and No. 20-ranked Stanford (12-4, 7-3) earned the No. 3 seed. It matches up with sixth-seeded OREGON in the opening round. Four seniors have guided the Cardinal to 54 career victories, led by Julia Massaro, who broke the program's single-game (18), season (95) and career (216) draw control records. Stanford's 15-12 victory at No. 10 Stony Brook was the program's first road victory over a top-10 opponent since 2015. Stanford leads the Conference with 14.3 goals per game, 6.7 assists per game and 21.0 points per game while Ali Baiocco leads the league with 71 points, which ranks No. 23 in the country. The Cardinal is looking to make a ninth all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Stanford returned to the postseason in 2018 after snapping its longest-consecutive postseason streak from 2013-2016. Dating back to 1995, Stanford has won 17 conference tournament titles spanning four different leagues: Western Women's Lacrosse League (5), Mountain Pacific Lacrosse League (2), Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (9) and Pac-12 Conference (1).
CALIFORNIA picks up the No. 4 seed after going 3-7 in Conference action and posting a 6-11 overall mark. Cal returned its top-four points scorers from last season, and seven of its top eight, including second team 2018 All-Pac-12 honoree Kirsten Swanson. Fourth-year starting goalie Jenny Wilkens ranks second in school history with 119 career ground balls. Tallying an impressive five goals in the season finale versus Stanford, Eliza Christman became Cal's third player to score 30 goals this season, joining Swanson (37) and Caroline Corzel (32). The Golden Bears added 2018 US Lacrosse Hall of Fame inductee Denise Wescott to the coaching staff this year.
In only its second season as a varsity program, ARIZONA STATE went 2-8 in Conference play and 6-11 overall, facing six top-25 opponents this year. The program recognized its first-ever senior class in defenders Rachel Gregory and Sydney Bosmans before the final home game of the season on April 17, an impressive 13-11 win over San Diego State, highlighting the season. Sophomore Emily Glagolev recorded career-high nine points off three goals and a season-high six assists versus the Aztecs to reach the 50-point plateau, becoming the only Pac-12 player to distribute 30 assists this season. Glagolev earned Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honors for her record-breaking performance (April 22) and marked Arizona State’s third all-time weekly nod.
Oregon finished with a 3-14 overall record, including a 1-9 Pac-12 mark. The Ducks’ Conference win was a 12-8 decision over California on April 12 in Eugene. Senior attacker Shannon Williams leads the Duck’s offense this season with 62 points on 35 goals and 27 assists. Goalkeeper Rachel Hall was the primary goalkeeper for the Ducks playing in all 17 games this season. The freshman leads the nation in saves (225), an astounding 38-saves margin over second-ranked goalkeeper in the category, ASU’s Berkeley Bonneau (187). She also leads the country in saves per game (13.24), while also ranking 16th in save percentage (.493).
Tewaaraton Award: USC midfielder Kerrigan Miller and Colorado duo of attacker Miranda Stinson and goalie Julia Lisella were named to the 2019 Tewaaraton Award watch list in February. As the season progressed, Trojans’ defender Jackie Gilbert and midfielder Kelsey Huff, and Stanford defender Julia Massaro were named second-round additions on April 11.