April 18, 2006
The Stanford women's lacrosse team travels to Maryland this weekend to take on the Loyola Greyhounds for the fourth time in school history. The Cardinal looks to build momentum for the MPSF Tournament in early May and make a run for the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament bid. Opening draw is set for 1 p.m. (EST) Saturday at Geppi-Aikens Field in Baltimore.
ON THE HORIZON
After this weekend, Stanford makes one more regular-season road trip before heading to Eugene, Ore. for the MPSF Tournament early next month. On April 28, the Cardinal takes on the University of Connecticut Huskies for just the second time in program history. Two days later, Stanford battles No. 11 Cornell in a neutral site meeting at Harvard University. The match will mark the Cardinal's sixth against a top-20 opponent this season.
SO FAR THIS SEASON
The Cardinal has played twelve matches this year, carries a 7-5 overall record and finished the conference season last weekend with a 4-1 mark. In the MPSF, 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 last weekend. In non-conference action, Stanford is 3-4. On February 24, Stanford 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 capture its biggest win so far this season, knocking 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 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. Three weeks ago, 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. Overall in 2006, the Cardinal has outscored opponents by 28 percent, 151-118.
HOME SWEET HOME
Ten Cardinal players will return to their home state of Maryland this weekend when the team faces Loyola in Baltimore. The game will mark the last regular-season collegiate match in the nation's lacrosse hotbed for four senior Baltimore-area natives: Sarah Bach, Megan Burker, Nyerr Parham and Kinsey Morrison. In addition, juniors Michelle DeChant and Carly Posner and sophomores Katharine Fox, Bri Ned, Alicia Soto and Laura Shane all hail from the Old Line State. Head coach Michele Uhlfelder is also a Maryland native, as she graduated from Pikesville High School in 1987 and played for the University of Maryland from 1988-1991.
PRESENCE IN THE CAGE
Sophomore goalkeeper Laura Shane has carried the Cardinal squad on defense this season and has led the team to impressive showings against some of the nation's best. With 142 saves already this year, Shane is recognized as one of the top net-minders in the NCAA. In the team's five games against ranked programs, Shane has denied opponents 78 goals. She leads the team with 33 ground balls this year and ties for third on the team in caused turnovers. With 14 saves in the heated match with Denver, Shane continued her ascent on the Cardinal career chart. Twelve games into her sophomore year, Shane has 346 saves, third best in a Stanford keeper's career.
TOPPING THE MPSF
With Stanford's two conference wins last week, the squad has positioned itself in a tie for first place in the MPSF. The finish marks the sixth consecutive season that Michele Uhlfelder has led her team to the top of the conference. Stanford now awaits the results of California's last two MPSF matches, which affect the tiebreaker and determine whether the Cardinal will be seeded first or second in next month's conference tournament.
With just three regular-season matches to go, Cardinal seniors Sarah Bach and Megan Burker are making runs at 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 scored (123), just 20 shy of a new Stanford record. Bach, last season's leading scorer, remains eighth on the list with 90 career goals. In the assists category, Burker's 59 are just 11 shy of a Cardinal best. Bach's 34 assists put her sixth on the career chart. The duo also stands second and seventh in shots with 292 (Burker) and 191 (Bach). Against Denver, Burker topped the 100 mark in draw controls, just the second player in Cardinal history to do so. Her 48 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-seventh).
This week, the Cardinal appears in the top-50 nationally in four statistical categories. Stanford averages 12.6 goals per game, the 15th highest scoring offense in the nation. The team's 2.75 goal scoring margin is 21st in the NCAA, while its .583 winning percentage ranks 27th. With a combined 30 draw controls in the last two matches, the Cardinal also pulled back into the top-50 in that category, appearing 43rd. Goalkeeper Laura Shane moved back into second with a .559 save percentage, close at the heels of North Carolina's top-ranked Kristen Hordy. Shane's 22 saves against North Carolina earlier this month ties for the top single-game mark in the NCAA. She also carries the second-best 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 2.67 per game currently stands 27th. The team's 20 goals last week versus UC Davis tied for the 18th best single-game mark in the NCAA.
BY THE NUMBERS
Stanford averages 12.6 goals per game to Loyola's 11.2. The Cardinal also shoots significantly better than the Greyhounds, at 43.8 percent compared to Loyola's 39.3 percent. Stanford is topping opponents by an average of 2.8 goals this season, while Loyola is trailing them by an average of 1.2 goals. Just over half of the Cardinal goals are scored by the top three scorers on the squad. For Loyola, 62 percent of scoring comes from one of the top three players.
THE SERIES WITH LOYOLA
Saturday's match marks the fourth overall meeting between the Greyhounds and Cardinal, as the two programs have met in each of the last three years. Loyola leads the series 2-1. Last season, Stanford earned its first-ever win against the program with a 20-16 victory in Baltimore. The combined 36 single-game goals was the highest scoring affair of the season for both teams. Megan Burker and Daphne Patterson came through for the Cardinal with five goals apiece in the match.
SCOUTING THE GREYHOUNDS
At the helm of the Greyhounds is third year head coach Kerri O'Day, who finished her successful collegiate career at Loyola in 1997. She enters Saturday's match with a 25-21 career record and leads a team that has been ranked in the top-20 six of nine weeks this year. The Greyhounds have lined up a solid schedule, with ten opponents who have appeared in the national rankings already this season. The team is currently riding a two game win streak, which includes a notable April 8 overtime win over then-No. 13 Syracuse. Leading the squad is junior Kate McHarg, who tops the team with 47 goals and 7 assists on the season. The native of Victoria, Australia is second in the nation in goals per game and 13th in the nation in points per game. Sophomore attacker Maura Kenny is the second leading scorer for the Greyhounds with 23 goals and the best shot percentage on the team. Goalkeeper Alex Piraino averages 8.9 saves in ten starts for the Greyhounds. As a team, Loyola is one of the best in the nation on the draw. The squad's 14.25 per game is currently fourth in the NCAA.