There was only one way into the NCAA tournament for the Stanford women women's lacrosse team -- the Cardinal had to win the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in Eugene, Ore.
Stanford edged top-seeded Denver, 7-6, on Saturday to earn the MPSF's automatic bid into the the postseason.
Stanford will face Notre Dame in the opening round of the tournament on Friday (5 p.m.) in Evanston, Ill. The winner will take on No. 2 seed Northwestern on Sunday at 11 a.m.
The Cardinal (14-5) faltered during the final week of the regular season, losing to UC Davis and edging Cal in overtime.
The Pioneers also beat Stanford during their regular-season meeting.
With nothing guaranteed, the Cardinal turned up the volume on its intensity level to sweep aside California in the semifinal and take some revenge on Denver in the title match.
The Pioneers took a 5-4 lead with just under 17 minutes to play in the contest. Lucy Dikeou responded with the tying goal, a free position shot, about five minutes later.
Less than a minute later, with a player advantage, Anna Kim scored the go-ahead goal.
Hannah Farr, named the tournament's MVP, added another score, which proved to be important,
Denver scored with 2:44 remaining and the Cardinal held, as Lindsey Munoz recording a save with 33 seconds left.
"We really stuck to our game plan and worked those great possessions and waited for our opportunities," Stanford coach Amy Bokker said. "I thought the defensive end and Lyndsey played outstanding."
It is Stanford's eighth MPSF tournament title in nine years, though this is the first year the conference champion received an automatic bid into the tournament.
Stanford scored the first three goals of the contest within the first nine minutes but were held scoreless the final 21 minutes of the first half.
Munoz made 10 saves total and picked up a team-best four ground balls.
"She was really locked in all tournament so I hope this gives her a lot of confidence going into the NCAA tournament," Bokker said. "She did awesome and was really focused, and knew she wanted to win a championship."
Farr, Kim and Dikeou each scored twice for Stanford. Farr, who also played in the NCAA tournament with the women's soccer team in the fall, added an assist. Rachel Ozer also scored, giving her a team best 47.
Farr was joined on the all-tournament team by Munoz, Kim, Dikeou and Elizabeth Adam.
"I'm so excited to represent Stanford on the national level," Bokker said. "These were our goals all season, to win the MPSF Championship and compete in the NCAA Tournament so we're really looking forward to it."