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Women's Lacrosse Season in Review: NCAA Snub Offers Extra Incentive
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 05/18/2009

May 18, 2009

STANFORD, Calif. - The Stanford women's lacrosse team could use a perceived NCAA snub as motivation.

"It did put a burn in our gut about next season," Stanford coach Amy Bokker said.

But the Cardinal (14-4 in 2009) may not need it. It appears to have enough talent and experience to get by in 2010 without the added incentive.

Bokker's first season at Stanford seemed to revive the program in some respects. Though the Cardinal had won the previous four Mountain Pacific Sports Federation titles, Stanford made it five in a row and went undefeated in conference play for the first time since 2005, and undefeated against teams outside of the Top 10.

The Cardinal was strong offensively and defensively, setting school records for goals (264) and caused turnovers (200), and ranking among the nation's top 10 in scoring (ninth, 14.67 per game) and scoring defense (seventh, 8.83).

In addition, Stanford tied school records for victories and winning percentage (14-4 overall record, .778), and did so against a schedule that included three of this season's four NCAA semifinalists, and seven teams ranked in the current IWLCA Top 20.

The Cardinal (ranked No. 14) went 3-4 in those games, including an 8-6 stunner at No. 3 Penn in the regular season finale when Stanford believed its NCAA chances would be determined by the result. Penn was the highest ranked team Stanford has ever beaten.

"The biggest thing we learned is, when we needed to put it on the line, we did, when it mattered most," Bokker said. "It's critical that we can use the same drive and sustain it for the whole season."

Stanford won 10 of its final 12 games, with its only losses coming to final four teams Maryland and North Carolina. Ultimately, the NCAA at-large berth hinged on February losses to then-No. 3 Syracuse and current No. 6 Notre Dame.

"Another thing I learned about the whole experience is every game truly matters," Bokker said. "We didn't think games in February would have as much influence in May."

The MPSF will receive an automatic bid into next year's NCAA tournament, but won't know until later in the summer if it will be a play-in game, or straight qualification into the opening round. Regardless, if Stanford continues its postseason success - it has gone 28-1 in the conference tournament since 1998 - the Cardinal should find out first-hand.

Because of its record, conference domination, victory over Penn and overall strength of schedule, a strong case can be made that the 2009 Stanford team was not only the best lacrosse team in school history, but perhaps the best women's team ever from the Western states.

Stanford loses co-captain Melissa Vogelsong, all-conference defender Maris Perlman and do-it-all midfielder Jamie Nesbitt, who played in every game during her collegiate career, to graduation.

The team's biggest challenge will be to fill the leadership void, but not to put the ball in the net. The Cardinal will return players who combined for 249 goals, or 94 percent of this year's total.

Stanford had four 30-goal scorers - Sarah Flynn (36), Lauren Schmidt (35), Dana Lindsay (32) and Karen Nesbitt (30) - and seven 20-goal scorers. All will be back, as will two-time all-conference midfielder Julie Christy and MPSF tournament MVP Karen Nesbitt.

In addition, Bokker and her staff have a year's worth of experience of evaluating talent and how to best use it. Stanford can now prepare to take the next step in its quest to become a national presence rather than just a regional power. It will have its chance when it travels to Syracuse for its 2010 season opener and plays four-time defending NCAA champion Northwestern in its home opener.

Team accomplishments from 2009:
Won fifth consecutive Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championship
Won at No. 3 Penn, the highest-ranked team Stanford had ever beaten
Tied school record for most single-season victories (14)
Tied school record for winning percentage (.778, 14-4)
Set school-record for most goals in a single-season (264)
Set team single-season record for caused turnovers (200)
Ranked among the top 10 in the nation in scoring (14.67) and scoring defense (8.83)
Undefeated in conference play for the first time since 2005
Four 30-goal scorers, seven 20-goal scorers, 10 10-goal scorers
Extended all-time postseason record to 31-4
Has gone 28-1 in conference tournament play since 1998

Individual accomplishments from 2009:

Lauren Schmidt
MPSF Player of the Year
All-MPSF first team
MPSF Player of the Week (Feb. 23, May 9)
Team scoring leader (57 points, 35 goals, 22 assists)
Tied single-game school record for goals (six)
Tewaaraton Award watch list

Anna Boeri
Tied single-game school record for assists (five)

Julie Christy
All-MPSF first team
No. 4 at Stanford in career draw controls (89)

Dana Lindsay
All-MPSF first team
MPSF Player of the Week (Feb. 9)

Leslie Foard
MPSF all-tournament team

Eleanor Foote
MPSF all-tournament team
Led team in caused turnovers (24)
Led team in ground balls (40)

Sarah Flynn
MPSF Player of the Week (March 30)
Team goal-scoring leader (36)

Claire Hubbard
Set school single-season record for assists (30)
Twice tied single-game school record for assists (five)
No. 3 at Stanford in career assists (47)

Jamie Nesbitt
MPSF all-tournament team
Never missed a collegiate game (73 consecutive games)
MPSF Player of the Week (May 4)

Karen Nesbitt
MPSF all-tournament team
Led team in draw controls (35)

Maris Perlman
All-MPSF first team
Twice tied single-game school record for caused turnovers (5)
Played in 67 consecutive games over her collegiate career
MPSF Player of the Week (April 13)

Annie Read
MPSF Player of the Week (Feb. 16)
Played every minute in goal (8.83 goals-against average)

Bess Siegfried
Team captain

Melissa Vogelsong
Team captain

Amy Bokker
MPSF Coach of the Year
Earned 100th collegiate career victory


#gostanford



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