Oct. 29, 2009
at No. 1 Maryland (17-0, 5-0 ACC)
Date: Friday, Oct. 30
Site: College Park, MD
Time: 4 p.m. PT
vs. No. 15 Louisville (10-7, 3-2 Big East)
Date: Sunday, Nov. 1
Site: College Park, MD
Time: 9 a.m. PT
STANFORD, Calif.- For No. 12 Stanford (13-2, 5-1 NorPac), one of the best seasons in school history can become even more special this weekend.
Already assured of the No. 1 seed in next week's NorPac Championship after capturing the West Division regular season title with a 4-2 win over Cal last week, Stanford takes a break from league play this weekend with a pair of non-conference games.
But these matchups can hardly be considered tune-ups. Because Stanford has experienced such a successful year up to this point, the stakes have now become even higher.
Aiming to improve its NCAA Tournament profile, Stanford gets a crack at two top-20 opponents on the road this weekend. The trip begins with a monumental challenge on Friday, as Stanford squares off against No. 1 Maryland (17-0, 5-0 ACC), the defending national champion that is dominating opponents at a record pace while enjoying one of the best seasons in program history.
Two days later, the Cardinal battles No. 15 Louisville (10-7, 3-2 Big East) in a neutral site contest to be played in College Park, Md. The Cardinals, who face Georgetown on Saturday afternoon, have won three of their last four and currently sit in third place in the Big East
An upset of the Terps would be historic: Stanford has never defeated the nation's No. 1-ranked team and its biggest win in school history was a 2-1 stunner over No. 3 Michigan State back on Aug. 31, 2001. And, of course, it would provide Stanford the kind of signature victory that goes a long way in the eyes of the NCAA Tournament selection committee.
Even a split would translate into a successful road swing. Stanford and Louisville have been ranked close to one another essentially all season long, and the chance to knock off another top-20 opponent away from home is just as important.
Regardless of the outcomes, simply having Maryland and Louisville on the schedule is likely to increase Stanford's RPI. The Cardinal entered the week with an RPI of 22, while Maryland checks in at No. 2 and Louisville is currently No. 25.
Stanford is one victory shy of matching the program record of 14 wins established back in 1997. The Cardinal has also enjoyed success away from The Farm, posting a 6-2 road mark and a 1-0 record at neutral sites.
Meanwhile, Becky Dru collected her team-high third NorPac Player of the Week honor, earning Rookie of the Week accolades for Oct. 20-26. Dru scored a pair of goals in Stanford's 4-2 victory over California last weekend. Stanford has now captured 10 NorPac Player of the Week honors in 2009. Dru has been recognized three times, Alessandra Moss has earned two awards while Jaimee Erickson, Kelsey Lloyd, Rachel Mozenter, Xanthe Travlos and Midori Uehara have also been honored.