Feb. 9, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. - No. 6 Stanford will get its season underway this weekend when it plays host to a pair of ranked teams. First, Stanford will take on No. 1 and defending champion Northwestern on Friday night at 7pm. The Cardinal will then host No. 18 Ohio State on Sunday, February 12, at 3pm.
The Cardinal is coming off a second-straight season of making the NCAA tournament and has won seven-consecutive MPSF titles. This season, the Cardinal have a young team, but expectations remain high and it will be put to the test immediately with a pair of difficult non-conference teams.
Northwestern not only won last year's NCAA title, but has won five of the past six. Stanford assistant coach Danielle Spencer is a former All-American for the Wildcats, but now will help Amy Bokker try to defeat her former team.
The Cardinal lost its top four goal-scorers from last season, but still return some experience including the senior trio of Anna Boeri, Emilie Boeri and Catherine Swanson. Other key returners include Rachel Ozer and defenders Elizabeth Adam and Nina Swanson. Sophomore Lyndsey Munoz will take over full-time in the cage and already has a MPSF Tournament MVP to her credit when she came on as a substitute last season.
Northwestern returns 10 starters form the championship team , including 2011 Tewaarton Trophy winner Shannon Smith. Smith scored 86 goals last season, while also handing out 42 assists. She scored seven goals in last year's matchup in Chicago, but it was her assist on the game's final goal that gave Northwestern the victory, 12-11. Overall, Stanford is 1-6 against Northwestern, but came painfully close to defeating the Wildcats last year.
After Friday's game, players from both teams will stick around to sign autographs for kids. Stanford will have posters on hand as a give-away.
Sunday's game with Ohio State will be another tough matchup as Bokker considers the Buckeyes much better than their ranking. Stanford holds a 5-3 all-time advantage over Ohio State, including a 17-5 drubbing in Columbus last season. However, the Buckeyes righted the ship after that early beating and finished 10-7, including two wins over ranked teams.
The Buckeyes return five starters, including Alayna Markwordt who was the leading scorer a year ago. Markwordt scored 52 goals last year and dished out 27 assists.
In addition to the Stanford games, Ohio State will take on San Diego State on Saturday at noon. San Diego State is in its first season as a program and will be traveling north for its first-ever game. Admission to all three games this weekend, as all lacrosse games at Stanford, is free.