March 14, 2006
Currently riding a three-game win streak, the Cardinal women's lacrosse team takes a break from competition this week to prepare for final exams and practice for a highly anticipated March 25 match-up with No. 1 Northwestern. The team has only one more regularly scheduled home match this season before hitting the road for the East Coast.
ON THE HORIZON
When the Cardinal resumes play in two weeks, it will take on the best team in the nation--the defending national champion Northwestern Wildcats. The Cardinal is 1-2 all-time against the top program, and looks to avenge an uncharacteristic 16-3 rout at the hands of the Wildcats last year in Evanston. After the meeting, Stanford continues 2006 play on the opposite coast, facing No. 9 Dartmouth on March 30 and No. 8 North Carolina on April 2. Of the Cardinal's next seven opponents, five are currently ranked in the top-15.
SO FAR THIS SEASON
The Cardinal has played seven matches in 2006, marking the midpoint of the regular-season. Overall, the Cardinal has a 5-2 record and has won two of its three MPSF conference matches. In the season-opener, the Cardinal slammed the Oregon Ducks with 18 goals from 11 different 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. On March 5, the Cardinal rallied to capture its biggest season win to date, knocking out Vanderbilt, a program ranked 12th in the IWLCA poll. Senior Sarah Bach led the Cardinal in the win, with a career-high and Stanford record six goals, while Megan Burker added a hat trick and three assists. Last weekend, the Cardinal earned two noteworthy wins over Columbia and Saint Mary's. To start the weekend, Stanford bested the Lions 13-4, holding the Ivy League foe to the lowest opponent scoring total so far this season. The win marked the Stanford program's first-ever defeat of Columbia. Just a day later, the Cardinal downed Saint Mary's by an 11-goal margin, the largest so far this season. The win served to extend Stanford's unbeaten streak against the Gaels to 17 games. Sophomore Daphne Patterson led Stanford for the weekend with seven goals in two days. In 2006, the Cardinal has outscored opponents 98-59.
LAST YEAR AFTER SEVEN
Seven games into 2005, the Cardinal also stood 5-2 (.714). However, Stanford had faced just one ranked opponent, No. 5 Georgetown, and fallen to the Hoyas 10-6 at home. By comparison, the Cardinal has already faced two ranked opponents this year, carries a 1-1 record against them and has outscored these top programs 26-21. Notably, in first half action, the Cardinal holds a seven-goal margin over ranked opponents. This year, Stanford boasts a No. 20 national ranking and has been ranked five out of the six weeks play. Last season, Michele Uhlfelder's squad did not appear in the polls until April 18. In 2005, the team tallied 77 goals in the first seven games. So far this year, the team already has netted 98.
The Cardinal defense has been rock-solid this season, holding opponents to a .341 shot percentage and denying 114 of 173 faced shots. Additionally, the squad has broken 13 clears and forced opponents to turn the ball over 138 times in just seven games. Seniors Kinsey Morrison and Thea Lorentzen have led the back line with valuable experience. Together, the duo has collected 16 ground balls and caused nine turnovers. Junior Rachel Dyke has also put up impressive numbers, notching seven ground balls and seven caused turnovers in her seven appearances for the Cardinal. Two other defenders, Bri Ned and Bryanne Gilkinson have made a marked impact on the scoring end for Stanford. Ned, a sophomore from Severn, Md., scored her first career goal less than five minutes into the 2006 season to give Stanford a four-goal lead over Oregon. Later in the opening day match, she scored her second career goal off of a quick pass from Liz Piselli. Gilkinson, a Mississauga, Canada native, also netted her first career goal against Oregon. Since then, the junior has gotten on the board twice more with successful free position attempts against Ohio State and Saint Mary's. In the Notre Dame match, Gilkinson's on-target pass to Liz Piselli was good for her third career assist and an early two-goal Cardinal advantage.
Junior Liz Piselli has paced the Cardinal midfield this season, with 15 goals and five assists so far. In her second season as a permanent member of the starting lineup, the Rockville Centre, NY native has recorded three hat tricks and scored in six of seven Cardinal contests. Her top performance was a four goal and two assist outing in the season-opener against Oregon. For her defensive part, Piselli leads the team in ground balls (16) and caused turnovers (8). The junior is joined by a group of young players who have stepped up to make an impact for the Cardinal. Freshman Bis Fries has wasted no time making a name for herself at the collegiate level. The Princeton, NJ native has scored in six of seven Cardinal matches and is tied for fifth on the squad with seven goals this season. Jessica Verrilli, Anna Brown and Megan McClain compose a midfield trio that has tallied a combined 12 goals and 17 total points. The group has also collected 15 ground balls, won 11 draw controls and caused six turnovers.
The Cardinal attack includes four players who have already registered double-digit points this season and three players who have already knocked in ten or more goals. The offensive leaders have carried Stanford to a .443 shot percentage, a .778 shot-on-goal percentage, 221 shots, 98 goals and 33 assists. Sophomore Daphne Patterson is the team's current leader with 17 goals and five multiple-goal performances on the year. Senior Megan Burker leads the Cardinal in total points, while Sarah Bach remains the only Cardinal player to have scored in every contest. Junior Michelle DeChant has started every game for Stanford and has seven goals. The Annapolis, Md. native tied a career high with five goals against Ohio State on February 24.
IN THE CAGE
The rock of the Cardinal defense has been sophomore goalkeeper Laura Shane. The Baltimore, Md. native has 76 saves in just seven games and boasts a .576 save percentage. Shane also ranks second on the team in both ground balls and caused turnovers, with 14 and seven this year, respectively. Senior Kate Horowitz has also entered the game on three occasions for the Cardinal. In just under 26 minutes of action, she has faced ten shots and recorded five saves, bringing her career total to 48.
HEAD COACH Michele Uhlfelder
Cardinal head coach Michele Uhlfelder boasts a 65-32 (.670) career record midway through 2006. She has won 95 percent of conference games with Stanford, carrying a record of 36-2. In five seasons with the Cardinal, she has captured five regular-season conference championships, four conference tournament championships and recorded eight single-season winning streaks of four games or more. In 2005, she was named MPSF Coach of the Year after finishing the season on a seven-game run.
Seniors Sarah Bach and Megan Burker, with names already prominent in nearly every statistical category in the books, continued their climbs on the Cardinal career charts this weekend. Burker pulled into third in career goals scored (114), just five shy of Kelsey Twist's second place mark. Bach, last season's leading scorer, remains eighth on the list with 83 career goals. In the assists category, Burker remains in the second position with 57, just 13 shy of a Cardinal best. With three more this weekend, Bach's 31 assists put her sixth on the career charts. The duo also stands third and seventh in shots with 274 (Burker) and 177 (Bach). In the draw control column, Burker's 19 already this season advance her to second with 88. Both seniors also appear ranked in free position shots on goal (t-third and sixth), ground balls (third and seventh) and games played (t-eighth). Goalkeeper Laura Shane also continues her ascent in the career save column. Just halfway through her second year, Shane has 280 saves, fourth best in a Cardinal keeper's career.