It's fair to assume a certain level of frustration had been built up within the Stanford women's lacrosse team toward its counterparts at the University of Colorado.

The Cardinal vented those frustrations in a big way Sunday at Prentup Field. Despite a pair of narrow, could've-gone-either-way losses against the Buffaloes during the regular season, Stanford dominated the inaugural Pac-12 Conference championship game, denying CU's bid to sweep the league's regular-season and tournament crowns with a 15-6 victory.

The Buffs never led and were held to a season-low goal total by a swarming defensive performance from the Cardinal, an effort led by goalie Allie DaCar. Though CU typically plays its home games at Kittredge Field, the result nonetheless ended a 19-game home winning streak for the Buffs, dating back to a loss against USC on April 8, 2016.

It was the second consecutive loss in a league title game for the Buffs, who also lost to USC last year in their final game in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.

"We know how good they are. We know they're a really good team that's playing really well and can beat you in many different ways," CU coach Ann Elliott said. "They stepped up, and we didn't.

"I think (DaCar) had an awesome day. Throughout the whole game, I thought she played very well. I thought we did a poor job of executing, just like we did last year at the NCAA Tournament. You can't take 35 shots and score six goals and expect to win a game. That's not the way things work. I thought she did a great job, and we didn't."


It was a rough day from the start for the Buffs, who fell behind 4-1 and trailed 7-2 at halftime. It perhaps wasn't quite as daunting a deficit as it seemed at first glance, given how CU recorded the biggest comeback victory in program history against Stanford on March 9 after trailing 12-5 late in the first half. This would not be a repeat performance however, as the Cardinal scored four goals within the first 2 minutes, 35 seconds of the second half to put CU in a 10-2 hole. The first three of those goals were scored in a span of 34 seconds.

The normally reliable figures on CU's attack were muted by the Stanford defense and DaCar, who finished with 14 saves. Leading scorer Darby Kiernan, who scored the 200th goal of her career in Friday's semifinal win against Oregon, was held to one goal for just the third time in 18 games this season. Second-leading scorer Miranda Stinson, who, like Kiernan, had scored seven goals in the previous two games against Stanford, was held to one goal and one assist.

"They were doing nothing different. We got the looks. We just weren't finishing our shots," Kiernan said. "We had a huge opportunity today, but Stanford fought really hard. It's a really tough loss, and hopefully we have an opportunity to make it into the NCAA Tournament to get another opportunity to prove we can do better than that."

Colorado’s Sophia Castillo is checked hard by Stanford’s Julia Massaro during the Pac-12 Championship lacrosse game at Prentup Field on Sunday.
Colorado's Sophia Castillo is checked hard by Stanford's Julia Massaro during the Pac-12 Championship lacrosse game at Prentup Field on Sunday. (Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)

While Stanford claimed one of the 13 automatic bids for the 26-team NCAA Tournament, the Buffs will have to wait a week to see if they land one of the 13 at-large bids for the program's second consecutive NCAA appearance. CU began last week with an RPI of 12, and the loss against Stanford is unlikely to seriously damage the Buffs' NCAA prospects.

"Assuming we can extend our season, we're going to practice (this week) and see what we can do," Elliott said. "We're going to work and work hard and understand that to be successful at the end of the season, no one is going to give you anything."

Pat Rooney: or

Stanford 15, Colorado 6

At Prentup Field

Stanford (15-4) 7 8 — 15 
Colorado (13-5) 2 4 — 6

GoalsStanford: Baiocco 3, Lew 3, Buness 3, Scornavacco 2, Murray 2, McMahon, Nick, Schoen; Colorado: Kiernan, Stinson, Nemirov, Grozier, Cox, Brown.

AssistsStanford: Murray 3, Baiocco, Lew, McMahon; Colorado: Kiernan, Stinson.

Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Stanford: DaCar (60-6-14); Colorado: Lisella (60-15-8).