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Cardinal Prepares to Host Another Competitive Weekend
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 02/28/2006

Feb. 28, 2006

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The Stanford women's lacrosse team continues its seven-game home stand Friday night, with a match against UC Davis at 7:00 PM (PST) at Maloney Field. The contest will mark the third of five regular season MPSF conference matches for the Cardinal. In the second match of the weekend, the squad will battle a ranked opponent for the second time in three games, taking on the No. 13 Vanderbilt Commodores in a 1:00 PM (PST) match.

After the upcoming weekend, the Cardinal kicks off another series on the Stanford campus, with matches scheduled for Saturday March 11 and Sunday March 12. In the first game, Stanford will face Columbia for only the second time in program history, seeking its first-ever victory against the Lions. The following day, the Cardinal will battle MPSF conference opponent St. Mary's, seeking to extend its 16-game undefeated streak against the Gaels. Two weeks later, the Cardinal will have a chance at No. 1 Northwestern, as the Wildcats visit the Farm on March 25.

The Cardinal is four matches into the 2006 season and has posted a 2-2 overall record so far. In the season-opener, the Cardinal overwhelmed Oregon with 18 goals from 11 different Stanford players, including four from junior Liz Piselli. Two weeks ago, the Cardinal suffered a tough defeat at the hands of Bay Area rival Cal, falling 9-6 to the Bears on the road. Last weekend, the squad bested Ohio State 17-9 behind five-goal performances from Michelle DeChant and Megan Burker before falling in a double-overtime heartbreaker to No. 17 Notre Dame, 12-11.

Junior midfielder Liz Piselli recorded two hat tricks in a three-day span this weekend to lead the Cardinal in a pair of impressive performaces. For her efforts, the Rockville Centre, NY native was named MPSF Player of the Week for the first time in her career. Against Ohio State, Piselli netted a pass from Megan Burker to give Stanford a commanding 10-4 halftime lead. Her two unassisted goals in the second half helped secure the Cardinal victory. In the battle with Notre Dame, Piselli came through in the clutch, netting a goal in the first minute of overtime to give the Cardinal a late lead. Piselli now leads the squad with 10 goals on 20 shots, scoring at a clip of 3.3 points per game.

In her first collegiate season, Stanford freshman Bis Fries has already emerged as one of the Cardinal's most consistent players. The midfielder is one of only two members of the Stanford squad who has scored in every match this season, as Fries and senior Sarah Bach have notched at least one goal in all four Cardinal contests. Overall, Fries stands tied for fourth on the team with five goals in four games. The Princeton, NJ native was a high school standout at The Hun School where she broke the career scoring record as a senior. Fries' first collegiate career goal came against Oregon, as she launched a well-placed shot past Duck keeper Anna Poponyak. Against California, the freshman scored an unassisted goal late in the game to jumpstart the Cardinal comeback effort. Last weekend, Fries earned the starting nod against Ohio State and scored an unassisted goal on the first Cardinal possesion of the second half. With just over 20 minutes to play against Notre Dame, Fries sent a ball to the back of the net to give the Cardinal a 7-3 lead.

Cardinal seniors Sarah Bach and Megan Burker, with names already etched in nearly every career category in the books, continued their ascents on the Stanford career charts this weekend. Burker pulled into fifth in career goals scored (106), just one goal shy of former teammate Nina Pantano's record of 107. Bach, last season's leading scorer, remains eighth on the list with 74 career goals. In the assists category, Burker's 54 is now just 16 shy of a Cardinal best. Bach's 27 assists put her seventh on the career charts. The duo also climbed to fourth and eighth in shots with 257 (Burker) and 163 (Bach). In the draw control column, Burker is currently third with 77. Both seniors also appear ranked in free position shots on goal (fifth and sixth), ground balls (fifth and eighth) and games played (t-eighth).

Stanford has faced the Aggies of UC Davis twenty times in program history, second most of any collegiate opponent. The Cardinal has dominated the series 17-3 and has won the last 11 meetings. Last season, Stanford bested the Aggies twice, by an average of seven goals each time. Early in the season, the Cardinal earned an 11-4 win on the road, behind the multiple-goal performances of Nyerr Parham and Sarah Bach. The teams faced off a second time in the MPSF Tournament in Moraga, with the Cardinal again emerging victorious behind Daphne Patterson's first career hat trick.

Stanford has met Vanderbilt just four times in program history and trails the short series 1-3. In 2001, Stanford dominated the first historical meeting between the two programs, winning 16-11 at home. Since then, however, the Cardinal has been unable get a win over the Commodores. This year, the Cardinal seeks to avenge single-goal losses in each of the past two seasons. In 2004, Megan Burker scored with 55 seconds left to bring the team within one, but the comeback effort was not enough to take out the No. 11 team in the nation. Last season, the Cardinal took the lead with just under nine minutes remaining, but two late Commodore goals would give Vanderbilt the win.

At the helm of the Aggies is fifth-year head coach Elaine Jones. The former University of Virginia standout has a 40-30 record with the Aggies entering this weekend's action. Last season, her squad posted a 10-9 overall record and a 2-3 mark in conference play, good for fourth in the MPSF. The Aggies return all of their top five scorers from last season, who each recorded double-digit goals in 2005. Leading the squad is junior attacker Katie McMahon, who scored a remarkable 69 goals last year. This season, the Pleasanton native already has netted 14 goals in just three games. Additionlly, she has 10 caused turnovers, six assists and a .778 shot percentage. Another junior, Megan O'Connor, is second in Aggie scoring with five goals and four assists on the season. Sophomore goalkeeper Hilary Harkins provides a strong defensive presence for the Aggies, as she has collected 30 saves in 78 faced shots so far this season. Of note, former Stanford great Nina Pantano is in her first season as an assistant coach for UC Davis. In her career on the Farm, Pantano netted 107 goals for the Cardinal.

Cathy Swezey, a Trenton State alum, is in her ninth season in charge of the Vanderbilt program, carrying a 63-67 overall record. She returns 18 letterwinners and eight starters from last year's team which posted a 6-9 overall record and went 3-3 in the American Lacrosse Conference, ending the season with a No. 19 national ranking. Senior captain and returning leading scorer Kate Hickman is the player to watch for Vanderbilt. Last season, she scored 41 goals and collected six assists. Just three matches into 2006, she has 11 goals and four assists. Sophomore attacker Margie Curran scored 30 goals last season, contributed 11 assists and won 28 draw controls. Entering this weekend's action she has nine goals and four assists. Freshman Jess Demorest, a midfielder from St. Mary's Episcopal in San Juan Capistrano, is the only California native on the squad. Two weeks ago, she made her collegiate debut against No. 5 Virginia.



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