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No. 20 Stanford Prepares for Columbia and Saint Mary's
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 03/07/2006

March 7, 2006

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The Cardinal women's lacrosse team continues home action this weekend, hosting Saturday and Sunday afternoon matches. In the first contest, the Cardinal squad will face the Columbia Lions for only the second time in history, seeking its first-ever victory against the program. On Sunday, Stanford will take on MPSF opponent Saint Mary's in the third of five regular-season conference matches. Both games are set for 1:00 PM (PST) at Maloney Field.

After this weekend, the Cardinal has just one game left of its seven-game home stand. On March 25, the No. 1 Northwestern Wildcats visit the Farm, giving the Cardinal a chance to oust the best team in the country. In the match, Stanford will be seeking its second-ever victory against the top program, as the series stands 1-2. The Cardinal will also look to avenge a tough 16-3 loss to the Wildcats last year in Evanston.

The Cardinal is five matches into the 2006 season and has posted a 3-2 overall record and a 1-1 mark in MPSF play. In the season-opener, the Cardinal overwhelmed Oregon with 18 goals from 11 different Stanford players, including four from junior Liz Piselli. The following week, the Cardinal suffered a tough defeat at the hands of Bay Area rival Cal, falling 9-6 to the Bears on the road. Stanford battled back, however, to best Ohio State 17-9 behind the five-goal performances of Michelle DeChant and Megan Burker before falling in a double-overtime heartbreaker to No. 17 Notre Dame, 12-11. Last weekend, the Cardinal rallied to upset Vanderbilt, a program ranked as high as No. 12 in the IWLCA poll. Senior Sarah Bach led the Cardinal in the win, with six goals on the afternoon while Megan Burker added three goals and three assists. So far this season the Cardinal has outscored opponents 67-48 and outscored ranked opponents 26-21.

Senior Sarah Bach tallied a hat trick in each half on Sunday to lead the Cardinal to a 15-9 victory over No. 12 Vanderbilt. Her six-goal performance was a career-high and tied a Stanford single-game scoring record. For her efforts, the Baltimore, Md. native was named the MPSF Player of the Week, taking home the second-straight award for the Cardinal. Bach was instrumental in the key win, as she led two separate 5-1 scoring runs for her team. She is now tied with Megan Burker and Liz Piselli as the team's leading scorer with 11 goals on the season. The weekly conference honor was the third of Bach's career, as she garnered the award twice last season. Bach is the only current Stanford player to have received multiple Player of the Week honors, and one of only three current players to have been recognized with the award.

The Cardinal back line has posted impressive numbers so far this season, contributing to the team's early success. Last week in the win over No. 12 Vanderbilt, the defense broke five Commodore clears while completing 15 of its own successfully. Junior defenders Rachel Dyke and Bryanne Gilkinson came off the bench to snag a combined five ground balls and force a key turnover in the middle of the second half. Senior Nyerr Parham forced two turnovers and collected two ground balls. Goalkeeper Laura Shane, one of the nation's top keepers last year, has been the most important key to the Cardinal defensive effort. On Sunday, the sophomore grabbed four ground balls and registered nine saves against the Commodores. On the season, she has an impressive 56 saves. As a whole, the Stanford squad has forced opponents into 51 turnovers and collected 101 ground balls.

Cardinal head coach Michele Uhlfelder will play her 38th conference match with the Cardinal this weekend carrying a 35-2 record in league play. Although the conference has shifted from the WWLL to the MPLL to the MPSF, Uhlfelder's squad has been the dominant program in every west coast conference, winning nearly 95 percent of league contests. Overall, Uhlfelder boasts a 63-32 (.663) record, best of all head coaches in the west.

Cardinal seniors Sarah Bach and Megan Burker continued their climbs on the Stanford career charts this weekend. Burker pulled into fourth in career goals scored (109), just three shy of Abbi Hills' third place mark. Bach, last season's leading scorer, remains eighth on the list with 80 career goals. In the assists category, Burker's 57 are now just 13 shy of a Cardinal best. Bach's 28 assists remain seventh on the career charts. The duo also stands fourth and eighth in shots with 262 (Burker) and 170 (Bach). In the draw control column, Burker's 11 already this season advance her to third with 80, just one short of the second place mark. Both seniors also appear ranked in free position shots on goal (t-fourth and sixth), ground balls (fourth and eighth) and games played (t-eighth). Goalkeeper Laura Shane also continues her ascent in the career save column. Just five games into her sophomore year, Shane has 260 saves, fourth best in a Cardinal keeper's career.

Saturday's contest will be a match-up between two virtual strangers as the only meeting betweeen the Columbia Lions and the Stanford Cardinal occurred in the 2000 season. Therefore, no current Stanford player or coach has met the Lions in NCAA competition, as head coach Michele Uhlfelder took the reins in the 2001 season. Likewise, no Columbia player or coach has faced the Cardinal, as head coach Kerri Whitaker is in just her fourth season with the program. In the lone 2000 contest, the Cardinal fell 8-6 on the road to the Ivy League opponent.

Unlike its other fifth week opponent, the Cardinal is very familiar with the Saint Mary's squad. Stanford is undefeated in the lengthy series with the Gaels, as the Cardinal has won all 16 meetings between the two programs. Last year, Stanford bested Saint Mary's in Moraga, 14-5. In the early season meeting, Sarah Bach led the Cardinal with a season-high five goals. Over the 16 historical meetings, Stanford has outscored Saint Mary's 221-96. Head coach Michele Uhlfelder stands 9-0 against the Gaels.

Kerri Whitaker, a Brown alum, returns 14 letterwinners and 10 starters from a team that posted a 7-8 overall record last year. In the competitive Ivy League, the Lions were 1-6 and finished in a sixth place tie. On Saturday, Columbia opened the season with a 19-6 rout of Lafayette, in which they tied a school record for goals. Junior Kate Lombard led the Lions in the opening day victory with four goals while junior Elyse Pultz recorded three goals and three assists. The top returner for the Lions is senior midfielder Carrie Anderer, who set program bests in goals (40) and points (45) in a season last year. For her efforts, she was named to the Ivy League first team, a first in a Lion players' career. Lauren Olsen, a freshman from La Jolla, is the only Californian on the team. The attacker made her collegiate debut on Saturday and recorded a caused turnover and a ground ball.

Head Coach Brandon Badgely returns for his third year with the Gaels with a 5-29 career record. Last year, Saint Mary's posted a 1-17 overall record and a 0-6 mark in MPSF play. So far in 2006, the squad is 2-1 however, with early wins over Robert Morris and UC Davis. Last weekend, the Gaels were hammered by Oregon, 22-8. The Gaels return three of their five leading scorers from last year, including standout attacker Jen Utley, who recorded 34 goals and 12 assists in her freshman season. Junior Jackie Spencer and senior Molly Wagner also scored in double figures last year for the Gaels.



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