Sept. 25, 2012
No. 13 Stanford Cardinal (6-4, 0-0 NorPac)
California Golden Bears (3-4, 0-0 NorPac)
Date: Friday, Sept. 28
Time: 12 p.m.
Site: Berkeley, CA
TV: Pac-12 Networks (PBP: Joe Castellano, Analyst: Leah Secondo)
The Opening Draw
After a challenging stretch of non-conference games to open the year, No. 13 Stanford (6-4, 0-0 NorPac) shifts its focus to league play this weekend. The Cardinal opens NorPac action against rival California (3-4, 0-0 NorPac) in Berkeley on Friday at 12 p.m. in a contest that will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks. Stanford is navigating through a six-game stretch that features five matches to be played away from home. Friday's contest carries added significance in the NorPac regular season race, with the winner gaining an early edge.
Proceed With Caution
In recent seasons, the Stanford-California matchup has represented a competitive battle of emerging top-25 programs. While the Golden Bears are currently unranked and carry a sub.-500 record, the Cardinal can certainly expect an inspired effort from its biggest rival.
Pac-12 Network Coverage
Four of Stanford's 18 regular-season games will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks this year. Home matches against No. 1 Maryland and No. 10 Iowa were already featured on the network, while the Oct. 23 rematch against California will also be shown.
Stanford: The NorPac's Premier Program
Stanford further solidified its status as the NorPac's top program last year, sweeping California in the regular season to claim its fourth conference crown over the last five years. Stanford has won nine of the last 13 meetings versus Cal. Not bad, considering the Golden Bears entered the 2007 NorPac Tournament title game having won 18 straight in the series dating back to 2001. The last six NorPac Championship title games have resulted in a Stanford-Cal match, with the Cardinal taking four of those contests.
Schedule Will Only Get Tougher
Stanford checks in at No. 13 this week, dropping two spots from last week's poll. The Cardinal has remained a fixture in the national rankings for all but one week during head coach Tara Danielson's tenure. The Cardinal has already faced five top-25 foes, posting a 2-3 mark in such games. Stanford also has contests looming against unbeatens Syracuse and Connecticut, ranked Nos. 1 and 5, respectively.
Now Back At Full Strength
Stanford played its last three games without the services of two regular starters in Kelsey Harbin and Maddie Secco. Although, it was for good reason. Harbin (USA) and Secco (Canada) were selected to represent their countries at the Junior Pan American Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico, from Sept. 10-23. Harbin guided the USA to a third-place effort while Secco led Canada to a runner-up finish. Even better, Harbin and Secco will represent their countries against at the 2013 Junior World Cup.
Dru One Of Nation's Elite Defenders
A 2011 NFHCA First Team All-American and one of the most prolific scorers in school history, Becky Dru is one of the nation's top players. Dru has scored only two goals, but her ability to distribute (team-best six assists) and pressure (team-best 24 shots, 14 on goal) has been critical. A two-time NorPac Defensive Player of the Year, Dru led Stanford in goals (16), points (39) and shots (91) last year. In 74 career games, Dru has totaled 44 goals, 30 assists, 270 shots and 12 game-winning goals.
Davies Adjusting In Goal
The only keeper on Stanford's roster, freshman Dulcie Davies has performed well. In addition to notching three shutouts and making 40 saves, Davies' nine stops against top-ranked Maryland kept the Cardinal within striking distance in a 3-2 double-overtime loss.
Becker, Dru Named NorPac Players of the Week
Stanford was well represented among this week's NorPac Player of the Week voting, with Becky Dru earning the Defensive award and Lauren Becker sharing the Rookie honor. Dru played a key role in limiting Radford to just five shots while dishing out two assists over two games. Becker scored the eventual game-winner in a 2-0 triumph over Radford and attempted three shots overall on the weekend.