Stanford built a nice cushion in the first half to outlast Dartmouth.
Buffalo, NY - Stanford fulfilled hopes for a Penn State quarterfinal, advancing to the Women's DI College Elite 8 after downing Dartmouth 40-15 in its opening-round game earlier today. The first half belonged to the Cardinal, which racked up a 26-5 halftime lead, but the second stanza was much more even, as the two teams scored two tries apiece.
"It wasn't the performance we wanted, but it's motivation for tomorrow," Stanford coach Johnathan Griffin said. "We were scattered today and not connected enough. Both sides struggled with the windy conditions, which made ball management difficult, blowing the ball away on passes. The players became hesitant, which is natural. We've also got to step up our intensity on defense."
Even though team chemistry suffered, there were some good individual performances, especially from captain Frances Wehrwein, whose hat trick - two tries of which came in the first half - helped build a healthy lead in the first 40. Ellen Danford and Liz Stevenson also ran in tries in the first half, while Alex Wolens and Wehrein accounted for the last two tries. Jamaica Osorio notched five conversions for 10 points.
Some of that second-half fall-off can be attributed to the resting of players who will be expected to perform against Penn State tomorrow.
"No disrespect to Dartmouth whatsover, but we planned our lineup around the concept that we'd play Penn State on the second day," Griffin stated. "I'm very pleased with our depth and kudos to those who haven't been regular starters all season. They got their opportunity to start in an important game and did the job - got the win against Dartmouth."
Expecting to see Penn State in the quarterfinals has put the weekend into focus for Stanford, and a tremendous battle awaits the team tomorrow. (Read about Penn State's game against Northern Iowa here).