No. 13 Stanford Defeats Buffs In Pac-12 Title Game
STANFORD, Calif. – Colorado senior Sadie Grozier recorded a career-high six goals, including four free-position goals, but No. 13 Stanford just had too much momentum on its side and defeated the Buffs, 17-10, on Saturday at Stanford Stadium in the title game of the Pac-12 Lacrosse Tournament.
The Buffs are now 8-7 while Stanford is 11-0. With the tournament title, the Cardinal earned the Pac-12 automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, while CU will have to wait for the announcement on Sunday to see if its season will be extended.
Colorado's second half was better than the first in just about every stat category, but the one that mattered the most was draw controls. Stanford dominated the draw, winning the first 10 of the game before Zoe McElhaney won CU's first. The Buffs ended up with two draw control wins in the first half, while SU had 13. But the second half saw a reversal with CU winning 10 and the Cardinal winning four.
"Obviously this is disappointing; not the result we were going for," head coach Ann Elliott Whidden said. "The draw controls and possessions, turnovers in transition in the first half, really hurt us. Stanford is a really good team. When you are giving them a lot of opportunities and you don't get a lot on your end, it's hard to stay in the game. I thought in the second half we did a better job of battling back and winning the draw controls and trying to give ourselves more positions, but a little bit too little, too late for us."
This was the final game for several of the Buffs, including four-year starter Julia Lisella, who has been with the team for six years. There are several other seniors on the team, including Grozier, who may or may not return with the extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19.
"Our senior class put everything out there," Whidden said. "Probably not the result they wanted, but they left it out there and they tried. They went down fighting. Sadie (Grozier) is a leader and she competes in everything she does on every inch of the field. She gave it everything she had today and we needed a little more and we didn't have it."
WHAT HAPPENED: For the second time in as many games, the Buffs got on the board first. Grozier passed to Liz Phillips, who found the back of the net at 28:13 to give CU its only advantage of the contest. But the lead was short-lived as the Cardinal recorded the following four goals before the Buffs took a timeout at 21:16.
Grozier recorded her first goal of the game at 19:54, converting on her first free-position opportunity to cut the Stanford lead to a pair (4-2). But the Cardinal recorded the following five goals in the next 12 minutes, taking a 9-2 lead.
Colorado was able to end its scoring drought thanks to Grozier, who recorded a pair of free-position goals at 6:08 and 4:33 to cut the Cardinal lead to five (9-4). Just over 90 seconds before halftime, Stanford recorded another goal to give itself a 10-4 advantage.
The Cardinal started the second half with two straight goals before Grozier was able to record her fourth free-position goal of the game at 20:50, tying a CU single-game record. Stanford recorded its 13th goal of the game less than a minute later to take a 13-5 lead.
Zoe Lawless got into the scoring action for the Buffs at 16:56, creating a shot and finding the back of the net to cut the lead to seven (13-6).
Stanford's offense continued to fire, scoring another three straight to go up by 10 (16-6) before Morgan Pence stopped the running clock at 10:04 with her first of the game. Grozier added to that for the Buffs with a pair of goals 25 seconds apart (6:48 and 6:23) for her fifth and sixth, respectively, of the game.
Despite the deficit, CU did not let up. Stanford scored with its final goal of the game at 4:23 and then Lawless converted on a free-position opportunity with 27 seconds left to play, giving CU its 10th goal of the game. The 10 goals are the most the Buffs have recorded in a tournament title game.
ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: The Buffs had three named to the Pac-12 All-Tournament team after the game. Julia Lisella recorded her third Pac-12 All-Tournament Team honor, while Sadie Grozier and Devon Bayer were named to the team for the first time.
- Grozier has played in 14 of CU's 15 games this season and has scored at least one point in each game played.
- She has scored three or more goals 16 times in her career, including eight times this year.
- Grozier recorded a career-high with four free-position goals, which tied the school record for the most free-position goals in a single game. It has only been done three other times.
- Her six goals are a career-high as well and are tied for the ninth-most in CU single-game history.
- Zoe Lawless extended her scoring streak to 14 games.
- Julia Lisella recorded seven saves in her final game for the Buffs.
- The Buffs are the only Pac-12 team to play in all three Pac-12 Tournament title games and have played in the last four conference championship games dating back to the 2017 MPSF Championship game.
|Points: 12||Points: 29|
|Goals: 10||Goals: 17|
|Assists: 2||Assists: 12|
|Draw Controls: 12||Draw Controls: 17|
|Ground Balls: 23||Ground Balls: 18|
|Saves: 7||Saves: 13|
UP NEXT: The Buffs will have to wait to see if they are selected to play in the NCAA Tournament. The selection show is Sunday, May 9, at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU.