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Cardinal Meets Nation's Best: No. 1 Northwestern
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 03/21/2006

March 21, 2006

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The Stanford women's lacrosse team will face the top-ranked Northwestern Wildcats this weekend, a team that went undefeated last season and captured the national championship. The contest marks the last regularly scheduled home match for the Cardinal, as the team spends the second half of the season on the road. Action is set to begin at 1 p.m. (PST) Saturday at Maloney Field.

Next week, the Cardinal squad will head to Hanover, NH to meet the No. 13 Dartmouth Big Green. Stanford will look for its first-ever victory against the Ivy League program, after dropping a one-goal nail-biter to the Big Green in 2004. The match is scheduled for 3 p.m. (EST) on March 30 at Scully Fahey Field in Hanover. Two days later, the Cardinal will face another top-20 opponent, taking on No. 5 North Carolina for the first time in program history. That match will be hosted by Georgetown University in Washington DC, with the opening draw scheduled for 1 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, April 2.

The Cardinal has played seven matches in 2006 and won over 70 percent of them. In MPSF play, Stanford crushed the Oregon Ducks and the Saint Mary's Gaels by an average of 10 goals. Also in the MPSF, the Cardinal fell to Bay Area rival Cal, 9-6. In non-conference action, the Cardinal is 3-1. 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 No. 17 Notre Dame, 12-11. The next week, however, the Cardinal rallied to capture its biggest win so far this season, 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. Two weeks ago, the Cardinal earned another non-conference win, taking down Columbia, a member of the competitive Ivy League. Stanford held the Lions to four goals, the lowest opponent scoring total so far this season. The win also marked the Stanford program's first-ever defeat of Columbia. Overall in 2006, the Cardinal has outscored opponents 98-59 and outscored ranked opponents 24-21.

The Stanford squad has controlled the tempo of the first half in every match so far this season. The Cardinal has outscored opponents 54-25 in the first period and held every opponent to less than five goals. In addition, the squad has taken 64 percent more shots than opponents in the opening half, out-shooting them 125-76. Stanford has also won nearly 60 percent of first half draw controls, completed 87 percent of first half clear attempts and never trailed at halftime.

A key to the Cardinal success this season has been senior Megan Burker's domination in the draw control category. The attacker has won 19 draws so far this season, more than 20 percent of the team's total. In the Cardinal's most recent match against Saint Mary's, Burker won a career-high seven draw controls. The mark was the second-best single-game performance in Cardinal history, just one short of Lauren Dietrich's record mark, set on May 7, 2000 against UC Davis. Burker, a Baltimore, Md. native, is currently second on the career draw control chart, with 88. At the midpoint of the season, she is only three short of making a third appearance on the single-season chart as well. As a team, the Cardinal has won 49 percent of draw controls and 84 total.

Stanford assistant coach Kylee Reade has been named to the coaching staff of the U-19 Canadian National Team. The London, Ontario native will serve as one of three assistants for the squad and will lead the team to the IFWLA World Championships in August of next year. Reade is a veteran of the Canadian Women's National Team program, having competed in the past two IFWLA World Cups as well as the inaugural U-19 World Championships in 1995. The fourth annual competition is scheduled for August 4-12, 2007 at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. The Canadian squad has earned the Bronze medal in the last two events.

Saturday's match marks the first time in history that the Cardinal has faced a defending national champion. During the 2003 season, Stanford came close, squaring off with the 2002 runner-up Georgetown Hoyas. In that match, the Cardinal fell 15-7 at home. Since the inception of the Stanford program in 1997, Maryland has won five championships, Princeton has claimed two and Virginia and Northwestern have each captured one. Last season, Northwestern defeated Virginia 13-10 to take home its first-ever women's lacrosse national title. Stanford is 3-4 all-time against teams with at least one national championship under their belts.

Stanford averages 14.0 goals per game, shoots .443 and holds opponents to .341 shooting. Northwestern scores 17.3 goals per game, shoots .475 and limits opponents to .377 shooting. Stanford is topping opponents by an average of 5.6 goals this season, while Northwestern takes them down by an average of 10.2. Opponents have scored 7.2 goals per game on the Wildcats and 8.4 goals per game on the Cardinal. Stanford averages 31.6 shots per game, while the nation's leader averages 36.5. On the defensive end, Stanford causes 11.0 turnovers per game and makes 11.0 saves. Northwestern averages 9.5 caused turnovers per game and 6.2 saves. The Cardinal cashes in on 51 percent of free position attempts and fouls 27.3 times per game. The Wildcats score on 56 percent of those attempts and foul just 17.3 times per game. Stanford turns the ball over 18 times in each match, while Northwestern does so only 12. For the Cardinal, the top three scorers score 49 percent of the squad's goals. For Northwestern, the top trio is responsible for 58 percent of scoring.

Saturday's match marks the fourth consecutive season and the fourth time overall that the Stanford Cardinal and the Northwestern Wildcats have met in women's lacrosse. Northwestern leads the series 2-1 after defeating the Cardinal in the last two meetings. Last season, Stanford was overwhelmed by the eventual national champion on the road, 16-3. In 2004, the Cardinal fell 11-5 at home. Stanford's only victory against the program came in the 2003 season, when the team topped Northwestern 9-5 behind the two goals of then freshman Megan Burker.

Although Northwestern and Stanford have met only three times, each program is familiar with opponents in the other's conference. Stanford is 11-10 against schools currently in the American Lacrosse Conference and 2-0 against them so far this season. Northwestern is 7-1 against current Mountain Pacific Sports Federation schools, with the program's only loss coming at the hands of the Cardinal. Northwestern will play three MPSF opponents this year, starting with California on Thursday and concluding with Denver on April 30.

Led by fifth-year head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller, the Wildcats are currently riding a 27-game win streak. The team returns 15 letterwinners, all five of its top-scorers and nine starters from the 2005 squad that went undefeated and captured the national championship. Leading the way is two-time IWLCA All-American Kristen Kjellman, who carries the team with 25 goals and 12 assists this season. Junior Aly Josephs already has 18 goals and 20 total points, while senior Laura Glassanos has notched 17 goals and 10 assists. Seniors Lindsay Munday and Sarah Albrecht round out the Wildcat scoring fivesome with 39 combined points so far this season. Freshman Meredith Frank, a native of Westwood, Mass., has already made an impact for Northwestern with six goals and seven assists in just six collegiate games. The Wildcats also have a freshman goalkeeper, as newcomer Morgan Lathrop has started five games and registered 30 saves. The Wildcats already have four wins over ranked opponents this season. Most recently, they mounted a powerful second-half comeback to beat No. 10 Notre Dame 21-12.



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