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Card Falls to Denver

May 14, 2021

EVANSTON, Ill. – Making its 10th NCAA Tournament appearance, No. 13 Stanford fell in the opening round to No. 15 Denver, 15-13, Friday, at Martin Stadium.

Stanford (11-1) was unable to fully crack a swarming Denver (16-1) defense. The Cardinal, which never led, tied the score six times before Denver sealed the win late in the second half. The Pioneers, which lost their season opener, have won 15 straight games.

Senior Katherine Gjertsen, who hails from nearby Winnetka, Illinois, led Stanford with four goals. Senior Ali Baiocco, who leads the Cardinal in goals and assists this season, scored both of her goals on free position shots with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game.

Freshman Ailish Kelly also scored two goals for Stanford, while fifth-years Jacie Lemos and Mikaela Watson, senior Galen Lew, sophomore Anna Griffith and freshman Katy Gilbert each scored one.

Stanford trailed 6-5 late in the first half. Denver scored with 15 seconds and one second left on the clock to push its lead to 8-5 at the break.

The Cardinal entered the contest leading the nation in assists per game, but was limited to just six on its 13 goals against the Pioneers. Watson paced the team with three assists, while fifth-year Daniella McMahon, Baiocco and Lew each tallied one.

Stanford edged Denver in shots (30-29) and won the draw control battle, 18-12. Both teams had 18 ground balls, while the Cardinal had 17 turnovers compared to 13 by the Pioneers.

Sixth-year Genesis Lucero, the Stanford career leader in draw controls (372), finished 2021 with a school single-season best 121. She had 12 against the Pioneers - the fifth-most in a game in program history.

Goalkeeper Kara Rahaim notched seven saves, including five in the first half. The sophomore also led the team and matched her career-high with five ground balls.

In head coach Danielle Spencer's first full season, Stanford finishes with the best win percentage in school history (.916). The Cardinal won the Pac-12 regular season and tournament titles for the first time.