No. 13 Stanford (9-4, 3-0 NorPac) prepares for a challenging road trip.
When head coach Tara Danielson first arrived on The Farm, Stanford was considered to be one of the country's fast-rising programs.
Three years later, Danielson has continued to elevate the program's national standing in the form of both team and individual success.
In addition to making three straight NCAA Tournament appearances, Stanford has remained a fixture in the national rankings for all but one week during Danielson's tenure. Meanwhile, several players have produced breakthrough seasons, highlighted by Becky Dru's emergence as a two-time Longstreth/NFHCA First Team All-American. The Cardinal has posted a 48-17 overall mark under Danielson, a two-time recipient of the NorPac Coach of the Year honor.
Stanford wrapped up the 2012 campaign at 16-7 overall, reaching the NCAA Tournament while capturing the NorPac Championship for the fifth time in six years. Perhaps even more impressive, the Cardinal navigated through a grueling non-conference schedule in which it played four games against the nation's No. 1-ranked team at the time.
Under Danielson's direction, Dru was also honored as the 2012 NorPac Player of the Year, earning the distinction for the second straight season while collecting her fifth conference award overall. The Cardinal's leader in every offensive category, Dru wrapped up her career with 54 goals, 36 assists, 144 points, 311 shots and 15 game-winning goals in 87 games. Joining Dru as Longstreth/NFHCA All-West Region selections were Hope Burke and Kelsey Harbin.
Danielson's 2011 squad (17-4, 6-0 NorPac) tied a school record for victories, reached its highest-ever national ranking at No. 6 and sported a top-10 RPI for the entire season. Boasting six top-20 victories, the Cardinal earned an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. Stanford solidified its status as the conference's premier team, sweeping California in the regular season for its ninth win over the last 13 meetings in the series.
Stanford's winningest first-year head coach, Danielson led Stanford to a 15-6 overall record in 2010, with the 15 victories ranking as the third-most in school history. Danielson's debut season resulted in Stanford's 10th NCAA Tournament appearance and third postseason trip in four years. The Cardinal also extended its stranglehold on the conference, capturing its fourth straight NorPac Tournament championship to qualify for another NCAA Play-In game.
Stanford also displayed a newfound ability to win games away from home while remaining competitive against elite-level opponents. A 4-2 road upset of No. 8 Wake Forest in late September proved to be a signature victory for Stanford, defeating its highest-ranked opponent since shocking No. 3 Michigan State in 2001.
Several players experienced unprecedented success under Danielson, whose team-oriented philosophy translated into a balanced offensive attack in which 18 players appeared in at least one game, 15 scored at least one goal and 16 registered at least one point. Xanthe Travlos was named an All-American for the second straight season while also repeating as NorPac Player of the Year.
Stanford has also excelled in the classroom under Danielson, most recently this past season with a school-record 18 players named to the SGI/NFHCA Division I National Academic Squad. The Cardinal has been honored with at least 10 selections in 10 of the last 11 seasons.
Danielson was announced as the program's sixth head coach on July 13, 2010. In addition to enjoying an extensive international playing career, Danielson has developed a reputation as a pioneer within the field hockey community through her efforts on the developmental level while implementing several successful outreach programs.
Tara Danielson led Stanford to a 15-6 finish in 2010, becoming the program's winningest first-year head coach.
Since 2005, Danielson has served as the Chief Executive Officer of RUSH Field Hockey, Inc., a non-profit public benefit corporation committed to the development of field hockey in California. As CEO, Danielson's primary focus included grassroots development and generating community programs that encourage leadership and participation. During her five-year involvement with RUSH, the organization grew from 30 members to over 700, capturing national titles in the California Cup, Festival and National Indoor Tournament.
Danielson was a member of the USA Field Hockey National Team, training and competing at the Olympic level from 1998-2005 while participating in 89 international contests during that span. In addition to representing Team USA at international events such as the Pan American Games, World Cup and Olympic Qualifier, Danielson was also a member of Team USA's National Indoor Field Hockey squad for two seasons (2005-06).
Following stops as an assistant coach at Boston College in 1996 and Connecticut in 1998, Danielson served as the head coach of Sacred Heart during the 2000 campaign.
A native of Greenfield, Mass., Tara Jelley graduated from Massachusetts in 1994 with a degree in sport management. A four-year letterwinner in field hockey and team captain during her senior year, she helped guide the Minutewomen to a pair of Atlantic 10 championships and four NCAA Tournament berths, including a record-breaking 1992 campaign that resulted in a trip to the national semifinals and the program's winningest season in school history.
Danielson was a three-sport standout at Greenfield High School, leading the Green Wave to a Massachusetts state championship in field hockey while also competing in basketball and softball.
Danielson received her master's degree from Springfield College in athletic administration in 1999.
Danielson and her husband, Steve, a member of the 1996 USA Olympic Field Hockey team, were married on Apr. 7, 2006. The couple has a daughter.