Stanford lacrosse preps for start of season

Feb. 18, 2015, 12:31 a.m.

The Stanford women’s lacrosse team commence its 2015 season ranked No. 20 in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) coaches’ pre-season poll and is projected to finish second in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF).  Its MPSF finish was voted on by the coaches of its conference, and the Cardinal received three first-place votes. This season Stanford will pursue its ninth MPSF title in 11 years.

Stanford is seated at No. 20 overall in the IWLCA; the University of Denver is ranked No. 19 nationally and predicted to place first in the MPSF, making it Stanford’s biggest conference competition. Maryland, the reigning national champs, will sit at first place to start the season.

(HECTOR GARCIA-MOLINA/ Senior midfielder Hannah Farr (above) has shown herself as a dynamic player on the women's lacrosse team thus far, and has the potential to be the star player this year.
Senior midfielder Hannah Farr (above) has shown herself as a dynamic player on the women’s lacrosse team thus far, and has the potential to be the star player this year. HECTOR GARCIA-MOLINA/

Coming off a 14-5 season and reaching the NCAA tournament for the fourth time, Stanford should have a smooth transition into this season. There are eight returning starters, representing 92 percent of its goals from last season; seven of the top goal scorers from 2014 will lead the Cardinal’s offensive campaign this season. Last year’s top scorer Rachel Ozer, now a fifth-year senior, will lead the way. She tallied 34 goals and 13 assists for a total of 47 points in 2014.

Also returning for Stanford is last year’s MPSF Player of the Year and an IWLCA second-team All-American, senior midfielder Hannah Farr (31 goals, 13 assists, 41 points, 41 draw controls, 33 ground balls). Additional honors were given to Ozer and junior midfielder Lucy Dikeou (31g, 9a, 40p, 32dc), who earned IWLCA All-West Region second-team and MPSF first-team recognition.

On the defensive end, Stanford will have a more difficult time filling crucial starting spots. The Cardinal lost their leading defenders Megan Lerner and Nina Swanson and goalkeeper Lyndsey Munoz to graduation. Both Lerner (34 ground balls and 39dc) and Swanson (14 ground balls) started and played all 19 games last year. Munoz (30gb) played 18 games last season and tallied 85 saves.

This season, the Cardinal will look to junior defender Adrienne Anderson, senior defender Rachel Kalick and junior goal keeper Katie Wiseman to take on the leadership positions in the back. Last season, Anderson and Kalick started and played all 19 games, and they will come into this season with the most defensive experience. Look to these players to anchor and lead the defense in Stanford’s 2015 campaign.

In addition to Stanford’s key returners, the Cardinal will unveil their 10-woman freshman class. They have a diverse class, coming from 10 different states. Freshmen midfielders Kelly Myers and Dillon Schoen both join the team with accolades. Myers was ranked No. 13 by Student Sports for the nation’s best freshmen, and Schoen was a U.S. Lacrosse first-team All-American.

This coming season, Stanford will play four top-20 teams, starting with a game against No. 10 Notre Dame on Friday. The Cardinal will also face No. 12 Ohio State this month, No. 11 Penn State in March and No. 19 Denver in April.

The Cardinal’s early non-conference schedule will take them to Ohio next weekend, to Tennessee in early March and to Pennsylvania and Massachusetts at the end of March. The Cardinal will host Notre Dame, George Washington and Cornell for their non-conference home games. Stanford opens with an MPSF game but then plays seven non-conference games.

The Cardinal will return to MPSF action on April 3rd in Denver against the Pioneers. They won’t be back until the MPSF conference tournament, hosted by the University of Denver, which reached the second round of the NCAA tournament in 2014. This season Stanford will host Oregon, San Diego State and USC for their conference home games.

Stanford will open their 2015 season with games against Fresno State on Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 6 p.m., and No. 10 Notre Dame on Friday, Feb. 20 at 7:30 p.m. The game against Fresno State, predicted to place ninth in the conference, is an MPSF opener, too. Stanford is favored to win against Fresno, but Notre Dame will be tightly contested.

Notre Dame, ranked eight places above the Cardinal, reached the second round of the 2014 NCAA tournament. Stanford and Notre Dame have developed an intense rivalry. Last season, then-No. 13 Stanford upset the then-ranked No. 6 Fighting Irish in a thrilling 11-10 contest. Dikeou scored the game winner with 4:05 left to play. Stanford also proved its resiliency and determination, scoring 4 goals to recover from a 9-6 second-half deficit. Stanford will need to bring that same energy to its game on Friday, as Notre Dame leads the series 9-6.

Cardinal women’s lacrosse team open their 2015 season Wednesday at 6 p.m. against Fresno State at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.

Contact Kristina Bassi at kbassi ‘at’

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