The Stanford Invitational served as a decent preview into the Pacific Mountain North Conference, which will begin its new league season this Friday.
All but one member team – Oregon State – joined the nine-team tournament, which was augmented by DI’s UCLA and Colorado, and DII’s Sacramento State and Western Washington. The event is arguably the highest profile women’s college tournament in the country, considering the relative strength of teams in attendance, and could have only been improved upon with the addition of regulars Women’s Cougar Rugby and DII’s Washington State.
But the competition was certainly not lacking. During pool play, teams that experienced blowout wins were similarly humbled by a single-digit victory. And the eventual finalists were no exception. Stanford just beat UCLA 10-5 before rebounding against Sacramento State 35-7; California eked out a 12-7 victory over Colorado before trampling Oregon 43-0. Ten of the 22 matches were decided by 10 points or fewer.
But Cal and Stanford really separated themselves as teams that could do a lot of damage quickly. Cal ended day one with the biggest rout of the day – 70-0 over UC Davis – and picked up right where they left off on Sunday, defeating Sacramento State 41-0. Cal has good depth and they’ll be relying on stalwarts Aubrey Huey, Maricel Quirindongo-Crespo and Jenn Sever to take them deep into playoffs this year.
But no one was better than Stanford. With headliners like Amelia Villines, Frances Wehrwein and Molly Kinsella (who didn’t play this weekend due to injury), no one was in position to challenge their top line. In the final, the Cardinal defeated the Golden Bears 41-0.
“We did begin the game with a more experienced squad, which allowed us to jump out to an early lead,” Stanford’s Frances Wehrwein said. “In no way, however, would I say that the score was indicative of the tone of the game: Cal is a strong team, and they provided great competition.”
“It’s hard to say at this point if the final was our best side, but it was definitely close to it,” Stanford coach Matt Sherman said. “We need to work on our decision-making with the ball in hand and ball retention in contact. In general, they were sources of focus, and while they improved over the weekend, we need to be far better in those areas.”
After six games in two days, Sherman was able to get a better handle on the 40-deep roster he’s currently handling.
“The Invitational was a valuable weekend for us,” Sherman said. “The most pleasing part was that we were both able to get 39 players match experience and minutes, and still improve performances from game to game, despite the chopping and changing, which culminated in our strongest performance of the weekend in the final. With that said, we recognize that there are a number of areas where we can and need to improve considerably, and we’ll now get back to work and our path of improvement.”
Cal 12-7 Colorado
Cal 43-0 Oregon
Colorado 12-7 Oregon
Chico 14-7 UC Davis
Chico 12-5 Western Washington
UC Davis 15-7 Western Washington
Stanford 10-5 UCLA
Stanford 35-7 Sacramento State
UCLA 38-0 Sacramento State
Cal 70-0 Davis
Stanford 26-5 Colorado
UCLA 24-7 Chico
Stanford 19-5 Western Washington
Cal 41-0 Sacramento State
UCLA 34-0 Oregon
Colorado 21-12 Western Washington
Chico 7-5 Oregon
UC Davis 12-5 Sacramento State
7th: Oregon 27-10 Western Washington
5th: UC Davis 12-7 Colorado
3rd: UCLA 10-0 Chico
Championship: Stanford 41-0 Cal