April 30, 2009

Stanfords Pleads Case for NCAA Tournament Bid

from press release

STANFORD, Calif. - The Stanford women's lacrosse team bolted to a double-digit lead and then hung on to beat Louisville, 14-12, in a nonconference game Thursday at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.

Stanford outscored Louisville 10-1 from the opening draw, but then was outscored by the same margin down the stretch. Louisville cut the deficit to the final margin with 1:08 to play, but Stanford's Karen Nesbitt controlled the draw and the Cardinal ran out the clock to secure the victory.

Claire Hubbard tied her own school record with five assists, including three in the second half, for No. 13-ranked Stanford in its home finale. The Cardinal (13-4) completes its regular season Saturday at No. 3 Penn in a final audition for an NCAA at-large berth. Last week, Stanford won its fifth consecutive Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championship, and Thursday completed an undefeated season against teams outside the Top 10. However, the MPSF does not have an automatic bid and Stanford must depend on a favorable decision by the selection committee.

First-year coach Amy Bokker hopes that her team's season credentials, as well as a strong showing at Penn, will be enough to earn the school its' second-ever NCAA invitation. Selections will be announced Sunday on the CBS College Sports Network between 7-8 p.m. PT.

"We knew we had to win this game," Bokker said. "And, if we compete well against Penn and put ourselves in position to win, we should get a bid."

Stanford is one victory from tying the school single-season record of 14 and, with 256 goals, is within three of the 1999 all-time mark.

Hubbard got her fifth assist with 10:53 left on a pass to Karen Nesbitt to tie a mark originally set by Kelsey Twist in 2005 and tied this year by herself and teammate Anna Boeri.

The goal also temporarily halted a Louisville run of five consecutive goals within an eight-minute span, with four consecutive coming from Sammy Allen, who, shortly after, converted her fifth within a span of 12:01.

For Stanford, Dana Lindsay scored four goals, including three in the first half, to become the fourth Cardinal player to reach 30 this season.

"The energy was really good in the first half," Bokker said. "We were in charge and in control. But in the second, we were playing it safe. We learned a lesson. We have to continue to play our game and keep attacking."

For defender Eleanor Foote, the second half was frustrating, especially in light of how well the defense has been playing, limiting opponents to an average of only 9.0 goals per game.

"When we play together as a unit, we can dictate the pace of the game," Foote said.

That's what Stanford showed early against Louisville (9-7) and believes it can show again if given the opportunity. A 13-10 road loss at No. 4 North Carolina on April 19, in a game that was up for grabs until the final minutes, was an example.

"We think we deserve an NCAA bid," Foote said. "We discovered against North Carolina that we can compete against top-five teams. We proved that to ourselves and we've grown in confidence since then."


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