April 7, 2009
STANFORD, Calif.- Head coach Lesley Irvine has announced the 2009 Stanford field hockey schedule, which features a new format in conference play and five contests against NCAA Tournament squads from a year ago, including defending national champion Maryland.
The 17-game regular-season schedule includes six home contests, beginning with the season opener against Missouri State on Aug. 30. The Cardinal will be opening the year on its home turf for the ninth consecutive season.
Stanford will also host the 2009 NorPac Championship, which is slated for Nov. 5-7 at the Varsity Turf. The Cardinal most recently hosted the conference tournament two years ago, claiming the title with a victory over California.
After battling Northeastern on Sept. 4, Stanford hosts Kent State two days later. The Golden Flashes finished 17-5 en route to winning last year's MAC Tournament and participating in the NCAA play-in round.
The Cardinal then embarks on the first of three lengthy road swings during the year, this time traveling to the Midwest. During the second week of September, Stanford will face Northwestern and VCU before a key matchup at Iowa. The Hawkeyes reached last year's NCAA Tournament semifinals and won the Big Ten Tournament for a third straight season.
A Sept. 20 contest against conference newcomer UC Davis kicks off the start of NorPac play, which will have a different look in 2009. Instead of the traditional seven-team alignment, the conference now includes eight schools and will be split into two divisions with a true round-robin format. Stanford, UC Davis, California and Pacific comprise one division while Appalachian State, Davidson, Longwood and Radford make up the other division.
Another road trip follows, this time to Pennsylvania for a three-game stretch. Stanford squares off against Temple and LaSalle before an Oct. 5 date with Penn State, the 2008 Big Ten regular season champion and perennial NCAA Tournament participant.
Stanford closes out league play with a rematch at Pacific on Oct. 11 before playing its final two home games of the year against UC Davis (Oct. 17) and California (Oct. 23).
The end of the regular season features perhaps the two toughest contests of the year. First up is an Oct. 30 road game at Maryland, which registered its sixth national championship in school history after winning last year's title. Two days later, Stanford battles Louisville at a neutral site in the regular season finale. Louisville earned a share of last year's Big East regular season title and qualified for the NCAA Tournament.
Stanford finished 9-11 overall in 2008, advancing to the NCAA Play-in game for the second straight season. The Cardinal was also crowned NorPac Tournament champions for the second year in a row and won seven of its final nine games to close out the season.