Jan. 16, 2009
STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford may be the four-time defending conference tournament champion, but the Cardinal was predicted to finish second in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in a coaches' poll.
Denver, which has won the past two MPSF regular-season titles and has 24 players returning, received six of the seven first-place votes. The Cardinal received the other.
Stanford, which begins its season Feb. 7 at Oregon, returns 21 players from its 12-8 team of last year. Among its six returning starters are Dana Lindsay, the team's top returning scorer, and midfielder Julie Christy, a first-team All-MPSF choice in 2008.
Nationally, Stanford has earned a No. 19 preseason ranking by Lacrosse Magazine. The rankings affirm what first-year coach Amy Bokker already knew: that Stanford has a brutal schedule.
The Cardinal will take on seven Top 20 teams, including five among the top 11. Of its games against ranked opponents, only two are at home. Stanford will play host to No. 2 Syracuse on Feb. 20 and No. 18 Denver on April 10, and host the Pioneers in the MPSF tournament April 23-25.
Road games will be played at No. 6 Penn (May 2), No. 8 Maryland (March 29), No. 10 North Carolina (April 19), No. 11 Notre Dame (Feb. 28) and No. 20 Johns Hopkins (March 27).
Here is the MPSF's predicted finish, and 2008 results:
1. Denver (6 first-place votes), 13-6 overall, 5-0 MPSF
2. Stanford (1), 12-8, 3-2
3. California, 9-9, 4-1
4. Oregon, 13-7, 2-3
5. UC Davis, 7-11, 1-4
6. Saint Mary's, 2-16, 0-5
7. Fresno State, first year