Been There Before
WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. - Sarah Johnson's game-winner in double overtime powered No. 19 Stanford past No. 20 Monmouth in the America East Championship final, securing the Cardinal a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Stanford (10-2, 6-2 America East) was crowned America East champions for the fourth time in five seasons, also taking home the hardware in 2019, 2017 and 2016.
Knocking off host No. 20 Monmouth for its first top-25 win of the season, Stanford clinched the America East's automatic NCAA bid and will await its postseason path during tonight's selection show (7 p.m. PT, NCAA.com). The Cardinal will be making its 18th NCAA Tournament appearance overall and 11th over the last 14 seasons.
Saturday's championship game was the latest chapter in a recent hard-fought rivalry that has developed between Stanford and Monmouth. Johnson was also the hero of the 2019 America East Championship final, scoring the game-winner in a 2-1 Cardinal victory that took place on Monmouth's home field. In last month's regular-season matchup – also played on the Hawks' home turf – Corinne Zanolli's goal with 36 seconds remaining resulted in a 3-2 Stanford triumph.
After winning its first seven games to begin the season, the Cardinal suffered back-to-back losses during its road trip last week. Remaining on the road for the conference tournament, Stanford has now won three straight entering the NCAA Tournament. Two years ago, the Cardinal notched its second NCAA win in school history after defeating Miami (Ohio) 3-1 in the opening round before falling 4-0 to eventual NCAA champion North Carolina.
Johnson's game-winner in the 77th minute came on her only shot attempt of the game, connecting on a pinpoint feed from Zanolli following a penalty corner.
Meanwhile, Zanolli found the cage twice in the game's first nine minutes, with her first score coming off an assist from Lily Croddick and her second goal off a penalty stroke. A three-time America East Offensive Player of the Year and the most prolific goal scorer in school history, Zanolli has scored 17 goals this season and 91 in her career over 76 games.
Zanolli's game-high six shot attempts helped Stanford own a 15-10 edge, as the Cardinal increased its pressure in the overtime periods. Frances Carstens added three shots while Megan Frost chipped in with two.
Penalty corners were even at eight apiece, with Monmouth capitalizing twice on set pieces, including Colleen Craven's goal in the 53rd minute that forced overtime.
Hannah Santos earned the win in goal, making two saves.
Stanford defeated Maine 2-1 on Thursday to reach Saturday's championship game.
Zanolli was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player while Frost, Johnson and Fenella Scutt earned spots on the All-Tournament Team.
Additionally, Isabelle Pilson was awarded the America East's Elite 18 Award, as she carries a 4.11 GPA in environmental systems engineering.