In their last meeting, No. 18 Stanford women’s field hockey upset No. 8 Wake Forest 4-2 on Wake Forest’s home turf. It was the 2010-11 season; a season that took the Cardinal all the way to a first-round match in the NCAA tournament against No. 2 North Carolina.
This season, though, the rankings sit far closer and No. 13 Stanford will come into the game as more of an equal against No. 14 Wake Forest than it did three years ago.
Both teams are fairly young squads, each with just four seniors who were present at the teams’ last meeting. Wake Forest, carrying a freshmen class of nine, is currently 8-5. However, the Demon Deacons boast a 6-2 record at home.
Stanford arrives in North Carolina with a record of 10-3, but is 2-1 on the road. Coming off a rebound week with two big wins, Stanford approaches Friday’s game with momentum at its back. Armed with what senior Hope Burke called “a new passion for the rest of our regular season games,” Stanford looks to reclaim a top-10 slot in the rankings.
Well-rested and confident, according to sophomore goalie Dulcie Davies, the Cardinal will attempt to maintain its shutout run. Outscoring its opponents by an average of 3-1 this season and earning penalty corners at three times the rate, Stanford will need a high powered offensive effort to combat a talented Wake Forest defense. Holding opponents to, on average, less than two goals a game, the Demon Deacon defense will have their hands full with Burke, junior Kelsey Harbin and junior Alex McCawley—Stanford’s powerful offensive trio.
Wake Forest has found much of its success this season outside conference play; the Demon Deacons are winless through four games in the ACC. But with only one game lost outside of conference, Wake Forest poses a tough match for the Card.
Following Friday’s game against Wake Forest is a Sunday game at No. 7 Duke. Duke has had a very promising start to their season boasting a 10-3 record to match Stanford’s. With seven goals thus far this season, senior forward and midfielder Emmie Le Marchand leads the offensive threat of the Blue Devils. Le Marchand represents an integral part of the Duke attack. A starter and leading goal scorer since her freshmen season, Le Marchand should prove an excellent test for Harbin of Stanford.
Harbin, who has been stellar all season, has been a key component in each of Stanford’s six shutouts this year. Duke and Stanford last went head to head in the playoffs of the 2011-12 season, with the fifth-ranked Duke team defeating the Cardinal 5-0. Stanford will take the field Sunday looking for revenge and a chance to build momentum for a huge home game next Friday against Michigan.
Duke goalie Lauren Blazer has been stingy in the cage, averaging just over one goal against per game on average. With Stanford’s penalty corner conversion rate on the rise, it will be interesting to see the impact that has, as Harbin will be looking to add to her six goals, all on corners, this season.
Stanford comes into a tough atmosphere to play in. Duke is 8-2 at home this year and the Blue Devils always draw large crowds. Sunday is sure to be no exception as both teams are jockeying for single-digit rankings.
Friday’s game at Wake Forest is scheduled for 4 p.m. PDT and Sunday’s game at Duke is scheduled for 9 a.m. PDT.
Contact Carlie Tenenbaum at carliet ‘at’ stanford.edu.