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Megan Lerner. Photo by Hector Garcia-Molina/StanfordPhoto.com.
MPSF Showdown Next for Card
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 04/03/2014
STANFORD, Calif. -- After completing its nonconference season with its third one-goal road victory over a ranked opponent, Stanford plays its final home weekend of the season. The Cardinal, the 2013 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament champion, first faces ‘13 regular-season champ Denver, on Friday at 7 p.m. Then, Stanford celebrates Senior Day during a Sunday (1 p.m.) game against first-year program Colorado. Stanford and Denver are among four teams without a loss in the early stages of the MPSF season.

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The following is a closer look at Friday’s match:

Who: No. 8 Stanford (8-1, 2-0) vs. Denver (9-1, 3-0)  
When: Friday, 7 p.m. PT
Where: Laird Q. Cagan Stadium; Stanford, Calif.
All-Time Series Record: Stanford leads, 17-6

Live Stats: Click here
Webcast: Click here
Admission: Free
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The following is a closer look at Sunday’s match:

Who: Stanford vs. Colorado (5-5, 2-1)  
When: Sunday, 1 p.m. PT
Where: Laird Q. Cagan Stadium; Stanford, Calif.
All-Time Series Record: First meeting.

Live Stats: Click here
Live Television: Pac-12 Networks
Admission: Free
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Season in Review: Stanford returned 11 starters and 96 percent of its goals from last year’s team that advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history. Stanford played three Top 20 teams, plus current No. 17 Ohio State, and has gone undefeated. Last week, Stanford spent spring break on the road, beating Cornell, 17-9, on Tuesday and then beating No. 6 Notre Dame on Saturday, 11-10. The Cardinal rallied from a 9-6 second-half deficit with a 4-0 run. Lucy Dikeou sliced through the defense for the winner with 4:05 left. Megan Lerner drew a charge with 17 seconds left to preserve the win.

Stanford in the Rankings:
    IWLCA coaches: No. 8 (No. 13 last week)
    Brine media poll: No. 6 (No. 11)
    Lacrosse Magazine: No. 6 (No. 8)
    Lax Power computer: No. 10
    RPI: No. 17

Highest-Ever Stanford IWLCA Ranking:
    No. 6: Feb. 20, 2012
    No. 6: 2012 preseason
    No. 6: May 2, 2011
    No. 6: April 25, 2011

* * *

Best Starts: This marks the third time in school history that Stanford has begun 8-1, equaling the same nine-game records of the 2001 and 2011 teams. The 2011 team began 8-0, which is the best unbeaten start in school history, and continued to go 14-1 for the best opening stretch with ony one loss. That team, which includes the current senior class, went undefeated in MPSF play, and won the MPSF tournament before losing to Florida, 13-11, in the first round of the NCAA tournament. That team finished a program-record 16-3.

MPSF Race: Four schools enter the main part of the conference without a loss. Perhaps even more impressive is that seven of the 10 MPSF schools have winning records. As for the conference race, 2013 MPSF regular-season champion Denver plays at Stanford, the defending MPSF tournament champion, on Friday. That will knock one unbeaten off the list, though USC and Oregon should remain unbeaten through this week. Right now, six MPSF schools have one conference loss or fewer.

* * *

Friday’s Opponent, Denver: The Pioneers are 9-1 overall and are tied with USC atop the MPSF, with 3-0 records. Denver moved into the Lacrosse Magazine poll at No. 19, but is unranked by the IWLCA and Brine top 20s. The Pioneers are No. 24 in the RPI, to Stanford’s No. 17. The Pioneers won the 2013 MPSF regular-season title with an 8-0 record, but lost at home to Stanford in the MPSF tournament final, 7-6. Denver went on to advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament before losing to Florida, 16-5, and finishing 18-3. Denver is averaging only 7.50 goals per game, good for 10th in the country in scoring defense. Jill Remenapp leads the nation with 31 assists and is 17th in total points, with 45.

The Stanford-Denver Series: Stanford holds a strong 17-6 all-time series lead, but the two have developed into MPSF heavyweights and regularly compete head-to-head for conference championships. Since 2007, Stanford holds a 7-5 series edge. They have met in the MPSF tournament six of the past eight seasons, with five coming in the MPSF championship game, of which four were decided by one goal, all won by Stanford.

Sunday’s Opponent, Colorado: Colorado is fairing well as a first-year program, holding a 5-5 record and holding a 2-1 conference record. The Buffaloes have beaten Saint Mary’s, 19-5, and Fresno State, 12-6. Goalie Paige Soenksen is 16th in the country and first in the MPSF in goals-against average, at 9.10, and is seventh in the nation in total saves, with 91. Colorado plays at UC Davis on Friday night before meeting Stanford.

The Stanford-Colorado Series: This is the first meeting between the two.

* * *

Senior Day: The Colorado game marks the last weekend regular season home game of the season and Stanford will use that as an opportunity to honor its four seniors: Anna Kim, Megan Lerner, Lyndsey Munoz, and Nina Swanson. Rachel Ozer also is a member of the class of ‘14, but she will return for a fifth season while co-terming (simultaneously working toward a masters and undergraduate degree).
    Anna Kim: Four-year starter ... 2013 IWLCA All-Region second team ... 2013 All-MPSF first team ... 2013 MPSF All-Tournament team ... 2012 All-MPSF second team ... 2011 MPSF Newcomer of the Year.
    Megan Lerner: 2013 All-MPSF first team ... Stanford record holder for draw controls in a single season (63) ... holds school record for draw controls in a game (nine).
    Lyndsey Munoz: Three-year starter at goalie ... 2011 MPSF Tournament MVP ... 2013 MPSF All-Tournament team ... 2012 All-MPSF second team.
    Nina Swanson: Team captain ... 2013 All-MPSF second team ... 2012 All-MPSF second team ... 2013 MPSF All-Academic team ... 2012 MPSF All-Academic team.

Tewaaraton Watch List: Stanford has three players on the watch list for the Tewaaraton Award, collegiate lacrosse’s highest individual annual honor: sophomore midfielder Lucy Dikeou, junior midfielder Hannah Farr, and senior attack Rachel Ozer. Farr was added two weeks ago, while Dikeou and Ozer were part of the original list, which numbers 53.  The list will be expanded April 10 and then be cut to 25 on April 24. Five finalists will be announced May 8 and invited to the awards ceremony May 29 in Washington, D.C.

MPSF Players of Week:
    Lucy Dikeou: Named MPSF Offensive Player of the Week this week after scoring four goals against Notre Dame, including the winner with 4:05 left, in an 11-10 road victory over the No. 6 team. Dikeou also caused four turnover, had two ground balls and a draw control.
    Kelsey Murray: Named MPSF Rookie of the Week after a combined four goals and four assists in victories over Cornell and Notre Dame. Murray scored two goals during a 4-0 run that allowed Stanford to rally from a 9-6 deficit against the Irish.

Rally Time: Stanford has trailed in six games this year, and has a 5-1 record in those games. Here are some facts about Stanford in games in which it has trailed:
   • In games when trailing at halftime, Stanford is 3-1.
   • When trailing with 10:00 left in the 2nd half: 2-0
   • In games when  trailing by two or more: 3-0
   • When trailing by multiple goals in the second half: 2-0
   • Largest deficit: 10-4, 2nd half vs. Georgetown; Stanford won 11-10 in double overtime.
   • Second-largest deficit: 9-6, 2nd half vs. Notre Dame; Stanford won 11-10.

Overtime: Stanford has played three overtime games this season, going 2-1. The victories came over ranked teams on the road in back-to-back games. On March 7, Hannah Farr scored on a free-position shot one second before the first overtime half and the goal stood in an 8-7 victory at No. 11 Towson. On March 9, Stanford overcame a 10-4 second-half deficit by shutting out No. 14 Georgetown over the final 32:03 of the game. Alexandra Crerend scored on a free-position with one second left in regulation to tie it, 10-10. Lyndsey Munoz saved a free-position shot in the first overtime and Lucy Dikeou scored the winner with 3:46 left in the first sudden-victory overtime period. On March 2, Stanford lost to Vanderbilt, 16-15, by allowing two goals in the final 34 seconds of the first overtime period.

Against Ranked Teams: Stanford has played three games against teams that were ranked in the IWLCA at the time of the game and has gone 3-0 -- all on the road. Stanford won back-to-back overtime victories over No. 11 Towson (8-7) and No. 14 Georgetown (11-10) on March 7 and 9. On March 29, Stanford beat No. 6 Notre Dame, 11-10, rallying from a 9-6 deficit.  

National/Conference Rankings: Stanford certainly has solid statistics, but nothing that has made an impact on a national scale. The following are Stanford’s top rankings as a team and individual in the national rankings, with conference ranking in parentheses:
   Team:
    10, Win Percentage, .889 (2nd MSPF)
    15, Ground Balls Per Game, 19.11 (2nd)
    17, Scoring Offense, 13.53 (2nd)
    18, Scoring Margin, 4.67 (3rd)
    23, Caused Turnovers, 9.78 (3rd)
   Individual:
    31, Lyndsey Munoz, Goals Against Average, 9.01 (4th)
    45, Caused Turnovers, 1.56 (3rd)
    50, Hannah Farr, Ground Balls, 2.44 (5th)
    62, Lyndsey Munoz, Ground Balls, 2.33 (7th)
    69, Lyndsey Munoz, Save Percentage, .405 (5th)

Two-Sport Athlete: Junior midfielder Hannah Farr not only is one of the best players in the West, but she is a two-sport athlete at Stanford, also playing on the Cardinal’s powerhouse soccer team. Farr, a midfielder who usually is among the first off the bench, was a member of Stanford’s 2011 NCAA championship soccer team as a freshman. She is the first ever at Stanford to participate in soccer and lacrosse. In lacrosse, she is a two-time All-MPSF first-team choice, is on the Tewaaraton Award watch list and was named the MSPF Offensive Player of the Week on March 17. She also is among the first Bay Area natives to play lacrosse for Stanford, having grown up just 16 miles up the Peninula, in Hillsborough, and attended San Francisco’s St. Ignatius Prep.
   
Poplawski’s Streak: Freshman Alex Poplawski has not only started all nine games of her brief collegiate career, but she has scored goals in each of the the first eight. Poplawski, a 6-foot midfielder from Springfield, Pa., scored four goals against Cornell and is tied for fifth on the team goal-scoring list with fellow freshman Kelsey Murray. Each has 13 goals.

The Rise of the MPSF: Stanford’s Mountain Pacific Sports Federation is growing in size and stature. Last year, both Stanford and Denver won first-round games in the NCAA tournament, each for the first time. There are now 10 teams in the conference, with the addition of first-year program Colorado. USC is in its second season with lacrosse and San Diego State is in its third.  

MPSF Preseason Poll: Stanford is the choice to win the MPSF, as determined by a vote of conference coaches. The Cardinal is the preseason favorite for the fifth consecutive year and seeks to win its ninth MPSF title in 10 years. Stanford received seven of 10 possible first-place votes, with 2013 regular-season champion Denver receiving two and USC, in only its second season, receiving one.

On the Horizon: Next week, Stanford could play another undefeated conference opponent. Oregon will plays host to Stanford on Friday, April 11, in a game televised by the Pac-12 Networks. Oregon (5-4, 1-0) is among four teams without a loss in MPSF play going into this week’s play. The Ducks play at California on Thursday at Saint Mary’s on Sunday.


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