CU women’s lacrosse seeks more magic against Stanford in Pac-12 title game

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Colorado's Samantha Nemirov, right, scored the overtime winner on April 13 against Stanford.

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Colorado's Sophia Castillo, left, shoots past Oregon's Julia Taylor on Thursday.



Pac-12 Conference women’s lacrosse tournament championship

MATCHUP: No. 2 Stanford Cardinal (14-4) at No. 1 Colorado Buffaloes (13-4).

GAME TIME: Sunday, noon, Prentup Field.

BROADCAST: TV — Pac-12 Network.

LEADERS: Stanford — Goals: Kelsey Murray 49; Assists: Murray 36; Points: Murray 85; Goalie: Allie DaCar 9.38 goals-against average, .478 save percentage. Colorado — Goals: Darby Kiernan 60; Assists: Kiernan 24; Points: 84; Goalie: Julia Lisella 8.09 goals-against average, .543 save percentage.

NOTES: Stanford opened the season with consecutive losses against Denver and Stony Brook but has gone 14-2 since. Both of those losses occurred against CU…Kiernan scored three goals in CU’s semifinal win against Oregon to become the first Buffs player to reach 200 goals in her career…The Buffs went 0-6 against Stanford during the program’s first three seasons but have won four in a row since…Regardless of the outcome, the Buffs will have to wait until May 6 to learn their NCAA Tournament fate.

Two of the most memorable victories during the Colorado women’s lacrosse team’s run to the Pac-12 Conference regular season occurred against Stanford.

A third win against the Cardinal on Sunday would be the most memorable one yet.

The Buffaloes will look to add the first Pac-12 Conference tournament championship to their growing resume as a national power on Sunday when they host Stanford in the league’s inaugural title game at Prentup Field.

“We’ve already played them two other times so we know what they do,” CU junior Sophia Castillo said. “We’ve just got to get prepared and switch the switch in our head a little bit to get ready for Stanford.”

The Buffs’ two wins against Stanford were critical in the team’s drive to the regular season title and the top seed in the tournament, but neither of those victories arrived easily.

At home on March 9 the Buffs trailed Stanford 12-6 at halftime before mounting an improbable comeback, outscoring the Cardinal 12-4 after the break to stun the visitors. CU actually trailed 12-5 late in the first half, making the seven-goal rally the largest comeback victory in the five-year history of the program.

The Buffs turned in an equally gutsy win at Stanford, using an overtime goal from junior Samantha Nemirov to pull out an 11-10 victory.

CU advance to its second consecutive conference title match (the Buffs lost to USC in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation final last year) with a 16-6 win Friday against Oregon in the semifinals, netting goals from eight different players in a balanced attack. Stanford survived for a 15-14 win against USC in the other semifinal.

“It is a quick turnaround,” CU coach Ann Elliott said. “(Saturday) we’ll get mentally prepared, and we’ve been working on that all week. With these Friday-Sunday games in our conference, that’s what we’ve been doing all season long. Going out hard on Friday, trying to regroup and get ourselves prepared for the quick turnaround on Sunday, and at the end of the day it’s about going out and playing one play at a time.

“Our mentality coming into (Friday) was this was our last game. We only have one thing guaranteed, and that’s the same for Sunday right now. We only have Sunday guaranteed. We’re going to get ourselves rested up and taken care of, and then get out there and play one play at a time for 60 minutes and see what we can do.”

Pat Rooney: or