April 25, 2006
The Stanford women's lacrosse team makes its last regular-season trip back east this weekend to face the Connecticut Huskies and the Cornell Big Red. On Friday, the Cardinal will play its third night game of the season in Storrs, Conn., with opening draw set for 7 p.m. (EST). On Sunday, Stanford will close out the regular-season in a neutral site showdown with No. 10 Cornell, the sixth ranked team that the Cardinal has faced this season. Opening draw in that match is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. (EST) at Jordan Field on the Harvard University campus.
ON THE HORIZON
MPSF Tournament action begins May 5 at the University of Oregon, with the opening quarterfinal round played Friday afternoon and evening. The Cardinal is guaranteed a first round bye and will be either the first or second seed in the field, depending on the result of the Oregon-California game this weekend. In the semifinal round on Saturday afternoon, Stanford will either face the winner of California-UC Davis or California-Saint Mary's, depending on the seedings. The MPSF Championship game will be played on Sunday, May 7 at 1 p.m. (PST). The NCAA Selection Show is set to air Monday, May 8 at 5 p.m. (PST) on CSTV.
SO FAR THIS SEASON
The Cardinal enters the final weekend of regular-season play with 13 matches under its belt, an 8-5 overall record and a conference-leading 4-1 mark in the MPSF. In the conference, Stanford handled Oregon, Saint Mary's and UC Davis by an average of 11.3 goals. Also in the MPSF, the Cardinal fell to Bay Area rival Cal, 9-6 on February 18 and downed Denver in an 11-9 decision two weeks ago. In non-conference action, Stanford is 4-4. On February 24, the squad 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 then-No. 17 Notre Dame, despite 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 program history. On March 25, the squad was overwhelmed by the top-ranked Northwestern Wildcats, suffering a 19-8 defeat despite a six-goal first half. On the team's first road trip, Stanford fell to No. 15 Dartmouth, 13-9, and No. 5 North Carolina, 12-5, despite a combined 38 saves by Laura Shane. Last Saturday, the Cardinal edged Loyola in Baltimore, on a late game-winner by sophomore Anna Brown. Overall in 2006, the Cardinal has outscored opponents by 26 percent, 164-130.
With the match in a late tie this weekend, the Cardinal couldn't have found a better player to take the game-winning shot than sophomore Anna Brown. The Denver, Colo. native has scored on 7 of the 11 shots she has taken this year and holds the highest shot percentage on the Cardinal squad (.636). She also boasts a .909 shot-on-goal percentage and is a perfect 3-3 on free position attempts. With the match knotted at 12 on Saturday, Brown reeled in a high pass from Sarah Bach and sent it past Loyola goalkeeper Alex Piraino for the eighth goal and first game-winner of her career.
Stanford senior Thea Lorentzen will play her first and likely last collegiate match in her home state of Connecticut this weekend when the Cardinal takes on the Huskies in Storrs. A defender from Greenwich, Lorentzen walked-on to the Stanford squad as a freshman in 2003 and has since developed into one of the most critical players on the Cardinal back line. She has played 49 games in a Stanford uniform and started 31 of those, including 11 this season. She has collected 51 career ground balls, caused 35 career turnovers and won eight career draw controls. She is tied as the single-game Stanford record holder in caused turnovers, after recording five at Ohio State last year. In 2005, she received MPSF All-Conference honors and is a two-time MPSF Academic All-Conference honoree. Four of the other five Stanford seniors got a chance to play in front of a home crowd when the team played at Loyola in Baltimore last weekend.
With just one more weekend of regular-season play left, Cardinal seniors Sarah Bach and Megan Burker are making runs at program records in every statistical category in the books. Burker, who is one of just three players in history to appear in the top-10 on every list, is currently second in career goals scored (127), just 16 shy of a new Stanford record. Bach, last season's leading scorer, remains eighth on the list with 94 career goals. In the assists category, Burker's 59 are just 11 shy of a Cardinal best. Bach's game-winning assist this weekend, the 35th of her career, bumped her into a tie for fifth place on the career chart. The duo also stands second and seventh in shots with 299 (Burker) and 196 (Bach). Against Denver, Burker topped the 100 mark in draw controls, just the second player in Cardinal history to do so. Her 49 caused turnovers rank ninth in Cardinal history. Both seniors also appear ranked in free position shots on goal (third and sixth), ground balls (second and seventh) and games played (t-seventh).
This week, the Cardinal remains ranked in the top-50 nationally in four statistical categories. Stanford averages 12.62 goals per game, the 15th highest scoring offense in the nation. The team's 2.62 goal scoring margin is 21st in the NCAA, while its .615 winning percentage ranks 24th. The Cardinal also remains just inside the top-50 mark in draw controls per game (11.31), at 49th. Additionally, the team's three straight wins mark the ninth longest current win streak in the nation. Goalkeeper Laura Shane stands fourth of all Division I keepers with a .549 save percentage. Her 22-save performance against North Carolina earlier this month remains tied for the top single-game mark in the NCAA. She also carries the second-highest single-game mark, with 21 saves on February 26 against Notre Dame. Senior Megan Burker appears in the individual national rankings in the draw control category. Her 2.62 per game currently ranks 27th.
THE SERIES WITH CONNECTICUT
The first and only meeting between the Stanford Cardinal and the Connecticut Huskies took place on the Varsity Turf Field on the Stanford campus last season. On March 4, 2005, the teams battled to a close finish, but the Huskies came out on top, 8-7. In her debut on the Farm, then-freshman Laura Shane registered 20 saves and faced 31 Husky shots. Megan Burker netted a crucial second-half goal and registered two assists in the match.
THE SERIES WITH CORNELL
Stanford has met the Cornell Big Red six times in program history and trails the series 1-5. Last season, the Cardinal earned its first-ever win against the Ivy League opponent, topping the Big Red 8-4 at home. In the match, a pair of freshman, Megan McClain and Daphne Patterson, led the Cardinal with two goals apiece.
SCOUTING THE HUSKIES
The Huskies are led by 2005 Big East Coach of the Year Bonnie Rosen, who returns for her tenth season at Connecticut. She brings back 14 letterwinners and three starters from last season's squad, a team that went 12-5 and captured the ECAC Championship. Leading the way this year is junior midfielder Shannon Burke, who has already tallied 38 goals and 15 assists. Senior Abbey VanDeusen has 25 goals and 8 assists this year, while junior Janet Williams has scored 17 goals and won a team-high 35 draw controls. This season the Huskies are 5-10, but have posted big wins this month over Boston College, California and Colgate.
SCOUTING THE BIG RED
At the helm of the Big Red is ninth-year head coach Jenny Graap, an `86 alumnus of Cornell. She leads a team that has risen to No. 10 in the national rankings and has positioned itself for the program's first-ever Ivy League title. Sophomore midfielder Katherine Simmons is currently the Big Red's leading scorer with 28 goals, but close behind her is fellow sophomore Courtney Farrell. The attacker has 25 goals and 17 assists on the season, good for a place on the NCAA's top-50 list in points per game. Cornell has earned its 10-2 record with defense, not offense however. The program leads the nation in scoring defense and goalkeeper Maggie Fava stands second in the NCAA with a 6.92 goals-against average. Of note, former Cardinal standout Abbi Hills is in her second season on the Big Red coaching staff. The Lakewood, Colo. native scored 112 goals in her career on the Farm, fourth-best of any Stanford player in history. The midfielder graduated from Stanford in 2004.