May 3, 2009
STANFORD, Calif. - Despite fielding what might be the best women's lacrosse team in school history and the best in the collegiate history of the sport in the western United States, Stanford did not receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament Sunday.
Against one of the toughest schedules the school has ever faced, one that included five Top 10 teams, and one day after a stunning 8-6 victory at No. 3 Penn, Stanford learned its fate while gathered together at Jimmy V's Café on campus to watch the NCAA selection show on the CBS College Sports Network.
Coach Amy Bokker was too nervous to sit and the players shared her sense of positive nervousness. But as the brackets were announced, the nervousness turned to tension, and then to silence.
The feeling around the room was that Stanford deserved to be there, but without an automatic berth for dominating the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, it was out of the Cardinal's hands.
"We really thought we did what we needed to do," said first-year coach Amy Bokker, whose team went 14-4, won its fifth consecutive MPSF title, set a school record for goals and tied another for victories.
"Our conference will have an automatic berth next year," she said. "That will be our goal for the season."
After a few moments, and a few tears around the room, Bokker addressed the team: "You obviously have a lot to be proud of. You seniors have made a mark on what we've been able to do as a program. I don't know what else to say."
"We played so well this season," said one senior, to the team. "We have nothing to be ashamed of. Nothing."