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No. 20 Stanford Battles Denver for Share of MPSF Regular-Season Title
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 04/11/2006

April 11, 2006

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THIS WEEK
The Stanford women's lacrosse team travels to the University of Denver this weekend to take on the Pioneers in a match which marks the end of regular-season conference play for both squads. The Cardinal looks to take down the Pioneers, who have won eleven straight and not lost a conference match this year. A win this weekend would give Stanford a share of its third straight regular-season MPSF title. The match between the Pioneers and Cardinal is set for Saturday at Pioneer Field in Denver. Opening draw is scheduled for 1 p.m. (MST).

ON THE HORIZON
Stanford will make two more trips to the East Coast before the end of the season and play three more non-conference matches. On April 22, the team takes on No. 18 Loyola College in a match scheduled for 1 p.m. (EST) in Baltimore. Last season, the two programs combined for 36 total goals in the highest-scoring affair of the season for both teams. On April 28, the Cardinal program faces off with Connecticut, seeking its first-ever win against the Huskies. Two days later, Stanford takes on No. 12 Cornell in a neutral site match played at Harvard University. Playoff action at the MPSF Tournament begins May 5 at the University of Oregon.

SO FAR THIS SEASON
The Cardinal has played eleven matches this season and carries a 6-5 overall record and a 3-1 mark in conference play. In the MPSF, Stanford handled Oregon, Saint Mary's and, most recently, 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. 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. Two weeks ago, in 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, 140-109.

THE MULTI-TALENTED Michelle DeChant
Stanford junior Michelle DeChant displayed her wide range of talents in Monday night's match-up with UC Davis. Prior to the match, the Cardinal's fifth-leading scorer sang the national anthem before winning a career-high five draw controls in the Stanford win. The Annapolis, Md. native also netted an unassisted goal midway through the second half to give the Cardinal a commanding 14-6 lead. As an attacker, she has contributed 18 total points to the Stanford offensive effort with 14 goals and four assists so far this season. She is also tied for third on the team in draw controls and carries one of the best shooting percentages of the Cardinal top-scorers. She has tallied five goals on two occasions in her career, against Denver last season and again against Ohio State earlier this year. The talented attacker is also a star in the classroom, as she earned MPSF Academic All-Conference honors last year.

SENIOR NIGHT STARS
Last night, six Cardinal seniors were honored in a Senior Night ceremony which recognized their accomplishments in four years on the Farm. Those same six seniors stepped onto the field and led the team to its largest margin of victory of the season. Megan Burker led the team in scoring with a career-high six goals, which tied a single-game Stanford record and moved her into second place on the Stanford career scoring chart. Senior Sarah Bach notched her fourth multiple-goal game of the year with a hat trick, while senior Kinsey Morrison recorded her first career assist along with a team-high three caused turnovers. Thea Lorentzen and Nyerr Parham combined for four ground balls and four caused turnovers and goalkeeper Kate Horowitz recorded two saves in 30 minutes of action. All six seniors are scheduled to graduate from Stanford in June.

CONFERENCE UPDATE
With Stanford's win last night, the squad moves into a second place tie in the MPSF with California. Should Stanford beat Denver this weekend and the Golden Bears finish their season with wins over UC Davis and Oregon, three squads could end in a tie for the regular-season title. The first tiebreaker in that situation is scoring margin against teams involved in the tie, followed by fewest goals against and most goals for. With that in mind, Stanford would need to win by an eight-goal margin this weekend to unseat Denver for the top seed in the MPSF Tournament.

CHART WATCH
With more top statistical performances last night, Cardinal seniors Sarah Bach and Megan Burker continued their climbs on the Stanford career charts. Burker, who is one of just three players in history to appear in the top-10 in every career category, pulled into second place in career goals scored (123), now just 20 shy of a new Stanford record. Bach, last season's leading scorer, remains eighth on the list with 88 career goals. In the assists category, Burker's 59 are now just 11 shy of a Cardinal best. Bach's 33 assists put her sixth on the career chart. The duo also stands second and seventh in shots with 288 (Burker) and 185 (Bach). In the draw control column, Burker's 28 already this season put her in second with 97 while her 47 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). Goalkeeper Laura Shane also continued her ascent in the career save column. Eleven games into her sophomore year, Shane has 332 saves, third best in a Cardinal keeper's career.

NATIONALLY SPEAKING
In the April 10 national rankings, the Cardinal appeared in the top-50 nationally in three categories. Prior to last night's match, Stanford averaged 12.0 goals per game, the 23rd highest scoring offense in the nation. The team's 1.7 goal scoring margin was 26th best in the NCAA, while its .500 winning percentage ranked 36th. Goalkeeper Laura Shane stood fifth in the nation with a .554 save percentage. Her 22 saves against North Carolina earlier this month tied for the top single-game mark in the NCAA. She also carried the second-best single game mark, with 21 saves on February 26 against Notre Dame. Senior Megan Burker also appeared in the individual national rankings. She was 31st with 2.6 draw controls per game and her eight points against Ohio State on February 24 tied for 17th in single-game points.

BY THE NUMBERS
Stanford averages 12.7 goals per game to Denver's 15.6 goals per game. The Cardinal shoots slightly better, however, at 44.7 percent compared to Denver's 42.0 percent. Stanford is topping opponents by an average of 2.8 goals this season, while Denver is beating them by 7.8 goals. Yet, five of Stanford's 11 opponents have been ranked while Denver has faced just one top-20 foe so far this year.

THE SERIES WITH DENVER
Stanford has faced the Pioneers nine times in program history, and dominated the series 8-1. Under Michele Uhlfelder, the Cardinal is 6-0 against the Denver program and has outscored the Pioneers 90-44. Last season, Stanford crushed Denver 17-4 at Maloney Field behind a season-high five goals from Michelle DeChant and hat tricks from both Megan Burker and Sarah Bach.

SCOUTING THE PIONEERS
Denver is led by head coach Cathy Reese, who enters her third season with the Pioneers after completing her own successful career at the University of Maryland in 1998. In her first two seasons, she compiled a 15-24 record, and led her team to a third place finish in the MPSF last year. This season, the team has already guaranteed itself the best record in Pioneer history, with a 13-2 start. The team is also bordering on its first national ranking, as it received votes in both the IWLCA and the Inside Lacrosse poll this week. Denver is led by junior midfielder Kristie Leggio, who already has 55 goals and 31 assists this season, as well as a points-per-game average which topped the nation at the beginning of the week. Three other players, Tanya Fuchs, Stephanie Greenlees and freshman Karen Morton, all already have more than 30 goals this year. Goalkeeper Becky Childs averages 7.3 saves per game and has a goals-allowed average of 8.40.


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