May 7, 2006
Eugene, Ore. - The offensive energy of seniors Sarah Bach and Megan Burker powered the Cardinal to its second-straight MPSF Championship this afternoon, defeating the Denver Pioneers 12-6 at Pape Field in Eugene, Ore. In the highly anticipated championship match-up, the seniors combined for eight goals and ten points to lead Stanford to its largest conference title victory since 2002. The Cardinal, riding a seven-game win streak, improves to 12-5 while the Pioneer squad ends its best season in history at 15-5.
The first half looked familiar to yesterday's semifinal for Stanford, as the teams traded four rounds of goals before Stanford broke open a two-goal halftime lead. Denver's Kristie Leggio started off the scoring with a free position goal just under five minutes in, but Bach answered with a successful free position of her own. The Pioneers managed three more goals to open the half, but Bach had an answer each time. The senior, who needed just one goal to meet the 100 career goal mark, scored four times in the first half, and cruised past the marker within seven minutes of the opening draw.
Sophomore Megan McClain finally broke the trading pattern with just under two minutes to play in the first half. The midfielder broke through the Denver defense and sent a hard shot past goalkeeper Becky Childs to give Stanford its first lead. With 11 seconds left, Burker knocked in a free position shot to give Stanford a 6-4 halftime lead.
In the second half, Burker picked up where fellow senior Bach left off and recorded three more goals for the Cardinal. Denver threatened early in the period, pulling within one goal on a tally by Karen Morton and later by Leggio. With just under eight minutes to play, however, the Cardinal started a rally that would secure their second-straight championship. Burker scored with 7:53 left to play and won the ensuing draw. The attacker passed the ball off to junior Liz Piselli, who made a long run down field and scored within 23 seconds of Burker's goal.
Denver called a timeout to try to break the Stanford momentum, but Burker and the Cardinal offense were far from finished. In the final five minutes of the match, Burker netted another free position shot and found teammates Daphne Patterson and Michelle DeChant in front of the goal to give the Cardinal a solid lead and seal the win.
Burker and Bach scored four apiece to lead the Cardinal. Patterson, Piselli, McClain and DeChant were credited with the other four. Kristie Leggio recorded four goals to the lead the Pioneers.
Stanford out-shot Denver 25-21 and won 12-of-19 draw controls. Goalkeeper Laura Shane recorded seven saves and three ground balls. Junior Bri Ned, along with Bach and Patterson were named to the All-Tournament Team. Burker was named the tournament's MVP.
Stanford, currently ranked No. 16 in the nation, will await the announcement of the 16-team NCAA Tournament field tomorrow. The bracket will be announced live on CSTV at 5 p.m. (PST).