2023 NCAA Lacrosse Rankings: No. 9 Stanford (Women)

PHOTO BY RICH BARNES

Annabel Frist emerged as a serious offensive threat during her freshman season.


The 2023 college lacrosse season is almost here. As is our annual tradition, we’re featuring every team ranked in the Nike/USA Lacrosse Preseason Top 20.

Check back to USALaxMagazine.com each weekday this month for new previews, scouting reports and rival analysis.

NO. 9 STANFORD

2022 Record: 12-7 (8-2 Pac-12)
Final Ranking (2022): No. 19
Coach: Danielle Spencer

TOP RETURNERS

Ashley Humphrey, A, R-So.

Humphrey burst on to the national scene as a redshirt freshman. The Connecticut native tallied an NCAA single-season record 88 assists and led the country in assists per game. Humphrey is a key playmaker and will continue sparking Stanford’s attack in 2023.

Kara Rahaim, G, Sr.

Rahaim’s prowess in the cage has steadily increased over the past few seasons. The 2022 Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Year, Rahaim tallied 182 saves — ranking 10th nationally — en route to a .458 save percentage. She will once again provide a strong veteran presence on defense.

Annabel Frist, M, So.

Frist emerged as a serious offensive threat during her freshman campaign. She started in all 18 games she played, notching 56 goals and 54 draw controls. With the graduations of star attacker Ali Baiocco and primary draw specialist Galen Lew, Frist is likely to take on much more responsibility this season.

KEY ADDITIONS

Rylee Bouvier, M, Fr.

Bouvier accomplished plenty in high school, including winning the state championship twice and playing for the USA Select team in the Brogden Cup. Now she looks to continue her winning ways at Stanford. A star midfielder, Bouvier could rotate in among the Cardinals’ standouts.

Peep Williams, A, Fr.

Few records remain standing after Williams’ time playing high school lacrosse in New York. The Binghamton native holds her high school’s records for career goals and draw controls, as well as the New York state record for most goals scored in a game. Dominant on the lacrosse field, Williams is a gifted athlete who captained her high school’s tennis team. With Baiocco and Lew’s departures, Williams will likely slot in and prove to be an offensive threat.

KEY DEPARTURES

Graduations: Ali Baiocco, A; Galen Lew, A; Maggie Bellaschi, D







STORYLINES TO WATCH

Humphrey headlines offense.

There’s no doubt that Humphrey was Stanford’s main storyline in 2022. A scout player in 2021, Humphrey’s emergence as a star was key to the Cardinal’s run to their second consecutive Pac-12 championship.

Stanford lost two productive attackers in Lew and Baiocco, leaving it up to Humphrey to quarterback the offense. She’s surrounded by a standout crew, including Frist and Sarah Jaques — an attacker coming off a strong redshirt freshman season like Humphrey.

In 2023, Spencer expects Frist to do a little bit of everything, whether causing turnovers during the ride or dodging on attack. She had a “tremendous fall,” Spencer said, and is playing with plenty of confidence.

Spencer said there are “big shoes to fill” with Baiocco’s departure, but she’s certain her team can make it happen.

“We’ve got a lot of different weapons,” Spencer said. “We want each player offensively to contribute goals or assists and have it be unpredictable to the opponent and not run through one player.”

Midfielders burst on the scene for the Cardinal.

Stanford’s stacked attack dominated headlines in 2022. This season, its midfielders might emerge as heroes.

The Cardinal’s unit, led by junior midfielders Ailish Kelly and Katy Gilbert, has greater experience under its belt. Other players, like seniors Anna Griffith and Liana McDonnell, will look to build on their impact as well.

After an “incredible” 2022 campaign, Spencer expects Kelly to play a key role once again. Kelly was dynamic for the Cardinal last season, ranking third on the team with 43 goals and fourth with 48 draw controls. She spent the fall out with injury, but Spencer said she will rejoin the team in the preseason.

Gilbert also excelled in the offseason after a relatively quiet 2022. Spencer said Gilbert is playing the best lacrosse of her life and has earned a starting role after a standout fall.

“She’s an absolute competitor,” Spencer said. “She’s got one of the best work ethics on the team. I don’t want anyone to sleep on her.”

Building on dominance in the Pac-12.

The Cardinal have had little trouble dispatching Pac-12 opponents in recent years. Since Spencer’s arrival in summer 2019, she has yet to lose a conference championship.

Out of conference, Spencer would love a splashy statement win. In Pac-12 play, the priority is defending the conference title and going for a three-peat. Spencer feels the latter is easier said than done.

“These opponents know not to take us for granted,” Spencer said. “They’re gonna give us their very best game, and we have to be ready to meet that level of intensity and focus.”

The Pac-12 has been somewhat of an open field in recent years, featuring tight matchups and upsets galore. The Cardinal lost two games in Pac-12 play, including upsets against Colorado and Arizona State, during the 2022 regular season before going on to win the conference championship.

For now, Spencer is making sure her players understand other teams are in the hunt for glory, too.

“Within the conference, they can’t take anything for granted,” Spencer said. “There’s this big target on our back.”

ENEMY LINES
WHAT RIVALS ARE SAYING ABOUT THE CARDINAL

“They are incredibly dynamic. Ashley Humphrey, the way she can feed the ball is incredibly difficult to defend…they are incredibly versatile. They were young and are coming into their own. They’re going to be a tough opponent.”

“They are certainly loaded with talent. They have good energy and good leadership. They’re super dangerous.”

BEYOND THE BASICS
POWERED BY LACROSSE REFERENCE

51.8%

The Cardinal finished the 2022 season with the 21st-best offensive rating in the country, and Ashley Humphrey was the engine that made that train go. She finished with a whopping 51.8% of the team’s assists. Unsurprisingly, her per-touch assist rate put her in the 99th percentile nationally. But she was really a double-threat. I measure the percentage of each player’s on-goal shots that go in (as opposed to being saved); Humphrey’s 73% on-goal shooting percentage was in the 94th percentile overall. At first glance, 73% shot-on-goal might seem like a weakness for her, but it’s the shots that end up on cage that really determine an offense’s success.

Lacrosse Reference Glossary

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