SAN DIEGO, Calif. --- The fourth-seeded Anteaters blitzed the top-seeded Cardinal early, but were unable to slow the Stanford attack falling 12-3 in the NCAA Semifinal match Saturday afternoon at the Aztec Aquaplex.
Stanford started out with a big offensive set, but a Kiley Neushul shot sailed wide. UCI came down and gained control of center forward to earn a penalty shot. Jessy Cardey converted to give UCI the 1-0 lead. Stanford responded with a pair of shots on the power play, but was unsuccessful. Danielle Warde raied up and fired a shot, but Kate Baldoni forced it high. Stanford earned an exclusion and and capitalized immediately on a one-timer to tie it at one. UCI went on the power play once again, but a field block would stop the advantage. UCI’s defense stepped up to force another turnover. UCI’s entry pass was stolen, and Stanford would sprint back down, Jillian Yocum would stand tall and stop a shot. Stanford would come back down on another power play and convert to stretch the lead to 2-1. Both squads would continue to get the advantage, but defensive stops would hold the score. Taylor Morrison drove to set up Hannah Croghan, but Baldoni would make another nice save. A late lob by Hillary Estrada would be tipped away. Stanford came down on another power play and converted in heartbreaking fashion with under a second left to make it 3-1 to end the first quarter.
Stanford started off after earning a penalty shot and skipping it by Yocum to make it 4-1. UCI’s offense sputtered initially as Cardey shot one high. The Cardinal responded quickly, but Yocum made a huge save. After the play, Neushul was ejected from the match after an apparent punch to the face of Cardey. UCI answered with another blast high by Cardey. Stanford earned another power play opportunity and buried a one-timer. UCI was unable to convert on consecutive possessions, and Stanford would come back down and extend the lead on another penalty shot to 6-1.
UCI regrouped following a penalty as Layne Kipp mustered a shot that bounded off the keeper and the bar but didn’t go in. Yocum made a great play as Stanford fouled to turn the ball over. UCI had a great chance on the return, but Kelsey Klatt’s lob grazed the bar. Stanford tried to counter, but Yocum shot out to meet the pass and get the ball back. UCI would get back on the board with a power play strike by Hannah Croghan to make it 6-2 with two minutes left in the half. Pallavi Menon returned the favor for Stanford and got the lead back to five. Both squads would trade possessions before UCI earned an exclusion. Michaela Pierandozzi’s shot careened off the bar as the half would end with Stanford ahead, 7-2.
UCI started the second half with a nifty play, but Pierandozzi’s backhand was saved. Another power play for Stanford was converted to make it 8-2. UCI found Cardey on the attack, but a field block stopped her shot short. Stanford returned to earn another penalty and convert to make it 9-2. UCI threw the ball away on its next possession, but buckled down on defense, and Yocum would knock another shot down. UCI came back down with a huge opportunity on the power play, but two shots were turned away. UCI would stand tall on the next power play opportunity as Yocum got an arm on it. The Anteaters’ next possession saw a shot go wide. Stanford responded with a wild backhand off the crossbar. Pierandozzi fired another shot, but Baldoni corralled it. Yocum kept the Cardinal out of the cage again, and the defense would steal it back. UCI would go back on the power play, and Hannah Croghan would find Klatt who would stuff UCI’s third goal in past Baldoni. The ‘Eaters would bring the defense once more, but a Hannah Croghan shot on the next possession would sail high. Yocum would tip the shot by Kaley Dodson high, and as the Cardinal regained possession, Stanford would put up its tenth goal.
UCI earned an exclusion as the quarter concluded, and following a timeout, UCI would get a shot off, but a field block would send it wide leaving the score 10-3, Stanford.
Yocum would start the fourth off right with a point blank save. Baldoni would return the favor. UCI regained possession, but a Hannah Croghan shot would be field-blocked high. A skip shot by the Cardinal would be handled by Yocum.
Stanford would earn the ball back and, following a timeout, would be turned away again by Yocum. Katie Croghan would attempt a one-timer following an exclusion, but her shot trailed wide. Yocum would deny Stanford again with a huge save out of center forward. Hannah Croghan would float one off the bar high on the return possession. Yocum kept her hot streak alive with another save as UCI regained possession with just over three minutes to go.
UCI earned a power play following the timeout, but Devin Crothers’ shot would be field-blocked. Stanford would add another on a lob that trickled in. Mary Jane O’Neill would get a snap shot in, but Baldoni would smother it. Stanford would return down and score again on the power play. A desperation shot by Rebecca Voytilla would go wide as Stanford would take the match, 12-3.
Jillian Yocum remained a pillar in the net with 14 more saves, one off a career high, and leaving her nine saves away from 200 on the season. After leaping three spots in the single-season rankings, Yocum sits alone for the fifth-most saves by a UCI keeper. Jessy Cardey’s early strike that gave UCI the initial lead reset the UCI single-season record with her 69th goal. Hannah Croghan reached the 50-goal plateau marking the 13th time an 'Eaters has scored 50 goals in a season and becoming the seventh 'Eater to reach that mark. Kelsey Klatt also scored, her 33rd of the season, extending her scoring streak to 13 consecutive matches.
UCI goes to 25-7 overall, 3-2 in the NCAA Tournament including 1-1 this year. The ‘Eaters’ earned a spot in the third-place match on Sunday against second-seeded UCLA at 3:30 p.m. The Bruins (22-4) fell to No. 3 seed USC, 12-10, in the other semifinal Saturday.
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UCI goals (season total): Jessy Cardey - 1 (69), Hannah Croghan - 1 (50), Kelsey Klatt - 1 (33)
Stanford goals: Ashley Grossman - 3, Pallavi Menon - 2, Cory Dodson - 2, Alexis Lee - 1, Kiley Neushul - 1, Kaley Dodson - 1, Cassie Churnside - 1, Alyssa Lo - 1
UCI saves (season total): Jillian Yocum - 14 (191)
Stanford saves: Kate Baldoni - 9