May 2, 2006
The Stanford women's lacrosse team heads to Eugene, Ore. this weekend for the MPSF Tournament. The Cardinal enters as the No.2 seed in the field, and will play the winner of the California-UC Davis quarterfinal match on Saturday at 4 p.m. On Sunday, Stanford will play either in the MPSF Championship game at 1 p.m. or the 3rd/4th place consolation game at 11 a.m. All matches will be played at Pape Field on the University of Oregon campus. Tickets can be purchased through the Oregon Athletic Department by calling 1-800-WEBFOOT. Adult prices are $15 for a weekend pass and $6 for a single-game ticket. Complete information about the tournament can be found on the University of Oregon's Tournament Page.
ON THE HORIZON
After the conclusion of this weekend's action, the Cardinal will await the announcement of the 16-team field for the elite NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Selection Show is set to air Monday, May 8 at 5 p.m. (PST) on CSTV.
The Cardinal finished the regular-season on Sunday with a winning percentage above .600 for the third time in the last four years. Stanford battled a tough schedule, which included nine opponents that have either been ranked or received votes this season, and emerged with an impressive 10-5 overall record. In 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 on April 15. The 4-1 mark tied for the top record in the conference. In non-conference action, Stanford posted a 6-4 record. 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 knock 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. Two weeks ago, the Cardinal edged Loyola in Baltimore, on a late game-winner by sophomore Anna Brown. This weekend, the rock-solid defense of Laura Shane led the Cardinal to wins over UConn and No. 10 Cornell. Overall in 2006, the Cardinal has outscored opponents by 27 percent, 179-141.
A SERIES OF FIRSTS
The Stanford women's lacrosse team accomplished a list of firsts this weekend. On Friday night, the Cardinal took down Connecticut for the first time in program history, and became the first west coast team ever to beat the Huskies. On Sunday, Stanford topped No. 10 Cornell. The notable win marked the program's first over a top-10 opponent and the first over the current season's Ivy League champion. Additionally, Stanford held the Big Red under five goals for the first time this season. Of note, the last time an opponent other than Stanford (which topped Cornell 8-4 last year) held the Big Red under five was April, 4, 2003.
At the conclusion of the regular-season, Cardinal seniors Sarah Bach and Megan Burker are on the verge of 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 (132), just 10 shy of the best mark in history. Bach, last season's leading scorer, advanced to seventh on the list this weekend and has 98 career goals. In the assists category, Burker's 61 are just 9 shy of a Cardinal best. Bach stands fifth on the career chart with 37. The duo also stands second and seventh in shots with 309 (Burker) and 209 (Bach). Against Denver, Burker topped the 100 mark in draw controls, just the second player in Cardinal history to do so. She now has 108 in her career. Burker's 50 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-sixth).
This week, the Cardinal appears ranked in the top-50 nationally in four statistical categories. Stanford averages 11.93 goals per game, the 22nd highest scoring offense in the nation. The team's 2.53 goal scoring margin is 19th in the NCAA, while its .667 winning percentage also ranks 19th. After two notable defensive performances this weekend, the Cardinal jumped into the scoring defense top-50. Stanford holds opponents to 9.4 goals per game, 22nd-best in the country. The team's five straight wins are tied for the third longest current win streak in the nation as well. Goalkeeper Laura Shane stands third of all Division I keepers with a .562 save percentage. Her 22-save performance against North Carolina in early April 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 2.6 per game currently ranks 27th.
HISTORICALLY IN TOURNAMENT PLAY
This year's tournament marks the third with the conference organized as the MPSF. Stanford won the 2005 tournament in Moraga with a 12-9 championship game victory over California. The Golden Bears took home the 2004 tournament championship after edging Stanford 11-10 in Denver. In Michele Uhlfelder's five seasons as head coach, the Cardinal has won four conference tournaments and outscored opponents in tournament play 140-79. Uhlfelder is 9-1 all-time in conference tournament play and the program as a whole is 19-2.
SCOUTING THE MPSF TOURNAMENT FIELD
The first-seeded Denver Pioneers just completed their best regular-season in history, which included an 11-game winning streak, 7 first-ever wins over opponent programs, and a 15-9 victory over now-No. 17 Hofstra. The Pioneers are led by junior midfielder Kristie Leggio with 3.50 goals per game, which stands tied for seventh in the NCAA. The third-seeded California Bears have played a tough schedule this season, including such programs as Northwestern, Notre Dame and Cornell. The Bears have won their last two and are led by junior Laura Cavallo with 1.94 goals per game. The fourth-seeded Oregon Ducks posted an even record in just their second season as a varsity program and have won two of their last four. The Ducks are led by freshman Ilsa van den Berg with 1.88 goals per game. The fifth-seeded Saint Mary's Gaels have topped non-conference opponents Robert Morris, Long Island and Marist this season as well as conference opponent UC Davis. The Gaels are led in scoring by sophomore Kim Reny who averages 2.56 goals per game. The sixth-seeded UC Davis Aggies have earned eight non-conference wins this season, and have won two of their last four. The Aggies are led by junior Katie McMahon, with 3.50 goals per game, a mark which ties Leggio of Denver for the seventh spot in national scoring.
LIVE ON THE WEB
A live webcast of all MPSF Tournament matches is available on a pay-per-view basis through the Oregon Athletic Department website. Fans or parents that are unable to attend the tournament can subscribe to a special MPSF tournament package for only $8.95. The tournament package will provide access to all seven games throughout the weekend. Visit GoDucks.com for more information.
MPSF TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
Friday, May 5th
Game 1: #4 Oregon (8-8, 2-3) vs. #5 St. Mary's (4-12, 1-4), 4 p.m.
Game 2: #3 California (7-9, 4-1) vs. #6 UC Davis (8-8, 0-5), 6 p.m.
Saturday, May 6th
Game 3: Losers of Games 1 & 2 (5th place), 12 p.m.
Game 4: Winner of Game 1 vs. #1 Denver (14-4, 4-1), 2 p.m.
Game 5: Winner of Game 2 vs. #2 Stanford (10-5, 4-1), 4 p.m.
Sunday, May 7th
Game 6: Losers of Games 4 & 5 (3rd Place), 11 a.m.
Game 7: Winners of Games 4 & 5 (1st Place), 1 p.m.