May 14, 2006
Evanston, Ill. - In the first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance by a west coast team, the Stanford Cardinal battled to the final horn, but fell to the defending national champion Northwestern Wildcats, 17-9.
Even with the loss, however, the 2006 Cardinal continued to make history. In her final match in a Stanford uniform, senior Megan Burker broke the all-time Cardinal scoring record, with 143 career goals. The Baltimore, Md. native tied the record set by Katharine Barnes in 2001 with 3:40 left to play, netting a pass from junior Liz Piselli. With just 13 seconds left to play, she scored on another pass from Piselli to become the all-time Cardinal career leader in goals scored. Burker ends her career with 143 career goals, 63 career assists and 206 total points. The attacker's name is etched on the top-10 list in every career statistical category.
The Wildcats' Hilary Bowen started off the afternoon's scoring, with a goal just over a minute into the game. On the first Cardinal possession of the match, however, sophomore Daphne Patterson reeled in a pass from Piselli and netted the first NCAA Tournament goal by a Stanford player. Within 12 seconds, the Wildcats struck back, as Kristen Kjellman knocked in an unassisted goal at the five minute mark. Patterson refused to let the Wildcats hold onto a lead, however, and netted her second goal of the match to even the score at two. Yet, the tie would be the last of the match, as the Wildcats outscored the Cardinal 5-0 to close the first period of play and take a 7-2 lead.
The Wildcats opened the second period with a free position goal by senior Laura Glassanos, but Patterson responded with her third goal of the afternoon just 29 seconds later. Freshman Meredith Franks and senior Sarah Albrecht netted two more for Northwestern before a surge of energy by the Cardinal matched the Wildcat offense and pulled Stanford back within five. With just under 17 minutes left to play, however, the Northwestern offense, led by Albrecht and Kjellman, went on a 6-0 run to give the Wildcats their largest lead of the game, 16-5.
Yet, the Cardinal was not ready to let down. With just under four minutes remaining, the Cardinal offense caught on fire and scored four goals in a three and a half minute span. After winning only two draw controls in the first half, the determined Cardinal fought back to out-draw the Wildcats in the second half, 9-8.
"We came here saying we were going to play to the very end," said Burker. "I was really proud how our team pushed them to the finish."
Stanford was led in scoring by Burker and Patterson, with a hat trick apiece. Senior Sarah Bach, junior Michelle DeChant and sophomore Megan McClain rounded out the scoring for the Cardinal, while Piselli recorded three assists. Kjellman and Albrecht led Northwestern with four goals each. Goalkeeper Laura Shane led the Stanford defense with 13 saves and six ground balls.
Northwestern advances to the second round of play with a 17-1 mark, while Stanford ends its historical season with a 12-6 overall record. Yet, the 2006 Cardinal has started a new tradition, one that the team is confident will continue.
"I was really proud of our team," commented Shane. "It was really exciting to be first, but we're going to come back next year and get a lot further."