March 27, 2006
The Cardinal women's lacrosse team will make its first of three trips to the East Coast this weekend, taking on the No. 19 Dartmouth Big Green on Thursday and the No. 5 North Carolina Tar Heels on Sunday. In the first match, the Cardinal will meet the 2005 Ivy League champion at Scully Fahey Field in Hanover. Three days later, the Cardinal will take on the Tar Heels for the first time in history in a neutral site match hosted by Georgetown University. Opening draw is set for 3 p.m. (EST) on Thursday and 1 p.m. (EST) on Sunday.
ON THE HORIZON
On Monday, April 10, the Cardinal will play its last home match of the season, making up the meeting with UC Davis that was postponed on March 3. The contest will be the last on the Farm for six Stanford seniors: Thea Lorentzen, Kinsey Morrison, Sarah Bach, Megan Burker, Nyerr Parham and Kate Horowitz. The following weekend, the Cardinal will travel to Baltimore, Md. to face the Loyola Greyhounds for the fourth consecutive season. Last year, the Cardinal took down Loyola in the highest-scoring affair of the year, 20-16. The April 10 match with UC Davis is scheduled for 7 p.m. (PST) at Maloney Field while the contest with Loyola is set for 1 p.m. (EST) on April 22 at Geppi-Aikens Field in Baltimore.
SO FAR THIS SEASON
The Cardinal has played eight matches in 2006 and carries a 5-3 overall record with a 2-1 mark in conference play. In the MPSF, Stanford handled Oregon and Saint Mary's easily, winning by an average of 10 goals. Also in the MPSF, the Cardinal fell to Bay Area rival Cal, 9-6. In non-conference action, Stanford is 3-2. On February 24, Stanford bested Ohio State 17-9 behind the five-goal performances of Michelle DeChant and Megan Burker. Two days later, the Cardinal fell in a double-overtime heartbreaker to No. 17 Notre Dame, 12-11 despite a season-high 21 saves from goalkeeper Laura Shane. The next week, however, the Cardinal rallied to capture its biggest win so far this season, knocking out Vanderbilt, a program then-ranked 12th in the IWLCA poll. The Cardinal earned another non-conference win on March 11, taking down Columbia for the first time in history. Last weekend, the squad was overwhelmed by the top-ranked Northwestern Wildcats, suffering a 19-8 defeat despite a six-goal first half. Overall in 2006, the Cardinal has outscored opponents 106-78.
FREE POSITION THREAT
The Stanford squad has scored nearly a quarter of its goals this season on free position shots, with 26 successful attempts so far this year. On Saturday, the team scored two free position goals against a team that had previously held opponents to just five percent shooting on those attempts. Sophomore Daphne Patterson's goal with just under six minutes left to play in the first half marked just the second free position goal that Wildcat keeper Morgan Lathrop has allowed this season. Prior to Patterson's goal, opponents were 1 for 20 on free position attempts against Northwestern. Overall, Stanford has capitalized on 48 percent of free position attempts. In the upset of Vanderbilt, Stanford cashed in on three of four tries to secure the notable victory. Megan Burker leads the Cardinal with six free position goals this season while Patterson has scored on five of eight and Anna Brown is a perfect 3-3. On the defensive end, Laura Shane and the Cardinal have allowed opponents to finish less than a third of attempts.
BURKER IN THE BOOKS
With 9:36 left to play in the first half against Northwestern this weekend, senior Megan Burker caused the Wildcats' Kristen Boege to turn the ball over and, with the defensive play, the attacker joined a group of the most elite Cardinal players in history. The caused turnover was the 44th of Burker's career and added her name to the only career list she had yet to be named on. The senior's name is now etched in every career category in the books, a feat only two other Cardinal players can boast. Abbi Hills `04 and Kelsey Twist `05 are the only other players whose names appear in every career top-10 category. Burker now stands third in goals scored (116), second in assists (57) and third in shots (277). Additionally, she is third in free position shots (50), second in ground balls (140), eighth in games played (62), second in draw controls (91) and tied for ninth in caused turnovers (45).
HUGHES RETURNS TO ALMA MATER
Stanford assistant coach Sarah Hughes will return to the Dartmouth campus this weekend to try to lead the Cardinal to victory over her 19th-ranked alma mater. Hughes will face the Big Green as a coach for the first time in her four-season career. The Broomall, Pa. native was a standout goalkeeper and four-year starter for Dartmouth from 1999-2002. Hughes was a two-time Brine/IWLCA All-American and led her team to three Ivy League titles, a No. 2 national ranking and three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. She finished her career in Hanover with 550 career saves, better than any Big Green keeper in history. Hughes also holds the single-game save record for Dartmouth, as she notched 22 saves in her collegiate debut against Maryland.
After eight games, the Cardinal is ranked in the top-50 nationally in five categories. Stanford averages 13.25 goals per game, the ninth highest scoring offense in the nation. The team's 3.5 goal scoring margin is 18th best in the NCAA, while its .625 winning percentage ranks 21st. Additionally, the squad is 25th in caused turnovers per games (10.13) and 36th in draw controls per game (11.38). Goalkeeper Laura Shane stands 14th in the nation with a .534 save percentage and her 21 saves against Notre Dame on February 26 is tied for the top single-game mark in the NCAA. Senior Megan Burker also appears in the individual national rankings. She is 22nd with 2.75 draw controls per game, 38th with 3.5 points per game and 48th with 1.25 assists per game. Her eight points versus Ohio State ties the ninth best single-game total this season.
THE SERIES WITH DARTMOUTH
Dartmouth leads the series between the two programs 1-0 after claiming a 7-6 win over the Cardinal two years ago. In that first and only meeting between the schools, the Cardinal took an early two-goal advantage but Dartmouth battled back to take a late lead. Stanford pulled within one with just 44 seconds to play when then-sophomore Nyerr Parham fed a pass to Kelsey Twist, but the Cardinal was unable to come up with the equalizer
THE SERIES WITH NORTH CAROLINA
Sunday's meeting between the Tar Heels and Cardinal marks the first time in history that the two schools have met in women's lacrosse. However, Stanford has faced three Atlantic Coast Conference opponents and holds a 1-5 record against them. Stanford's only win against an ACC opponent came against Boston College during the 2002 season, when the Cardinal bested the Eagles 13-10 on the road.
SCOUTING THE BIG GREEN
Dartmouth is led by head coach Amy Patton, a former Maryland teammate of Michele Uhlfelder. The Big Green posted a 16-3 overall record last season and went undefeated in conference play to capture the Ivy League title. The squad returns 18 letterwinners and eight starters from last year's NCAA final four squad. Leading the way this season is junior Sarah Szefi, who tops the Big Green with 17 goals and five assists. Junior Jenn Pittman is close behind with 15 goals while junior Whitney Douthett boasts 10 goals and 11 assists. Goalkeeper Devon Wills is fourth in the NCAA with a 6.0 goals-against average.
SCOUTING THE TAR HEELS
At the helm of the Tar Heels is head coach Jenny Levy, who has tallied a 126-58 (.685) overall record in her ten and a half seasons with the North Carolina program. Last season, she led her team to a 14-6 overall record, a 2-2 mark in the ACC and an NCAA quarterfinal appearance. The squad returns 23 letterwinners, nine starters and all ten of its 2005 leading scorers. So far in 2006, senior Stephanie Scurachio has led the Tar Heels with 19 goals and seven assists. Junior Melissa McCarthy is close behind with 15 goals and six assists. Last season's leading scorer, Jess Allen has ten goals on the year. The Tar Heels have won 78 percent of their games this season, with notable wins over Loyola, Penn State and Virginia. The Tar Heels were edged by Boston University on March 11, 7-6, and fell to Duke on March 8, 10-8.