STANFORD, Calif. - The California women's lacrosse team held a 3-1 lead with 10 minutes left in the first half, but No. 17 Stanford went on a big run and gained control for the rest of the game, en route to an 18-7 victory Thursday afternoon at Maloney Field at Stanford. The Golden Bears' finished the 2014 campaign with an overall record of 5-11 and an MPSF record of 3-6.
Despite the losing season, head coach Ginger Miles is pleased with how much the Bears have improved in the final five games of the season.
"We've done a really tremendous job of moving the ball as an offensive unit," Miles said. "All of our players have a greater expectation for what we want on offense. Defensively, I think we really came together as a unit. Katie [Gutierrez] made some nice saves in goal and gave our defense the confidence to make plays out there."
Bella Huther and Gaby Christman each scored twice for the Bears on Thursday, while Paige Gasparino, Amelia Burke and Caroline Schlegel also added goals. Gasparino, Christman and Brynn Gasparino notched assists, as well. In goal for the sixth consecutive game, Katie Gutierrez made eight saves.
There wasn't a lot of scoring in the first half. The Bears played strong in that initial half, taking a 3-1 lead at the 10:27 mark. Schlegel scored Cal's first goal with an assist from Christman before Huther and Paige Gasparino each scored on free-position shots.
Following a Stanford timeout, the Cardinal took control of the game and never looked back. Stanford went on a 12-1 run into the second half to take a commanding 13-4 lead with 17:35 left in regulation. The Bears kept fighting, scoring the last two goals of the game, but Stanford's lead was too large to overcome.
"Against a good team, you can't give them second chances and you can't give them the ball back," Miles said. "We had too many turnovers, a lot of them unforced, and mental mistakes against a good team like Stanford, they're going to capitalize on that."