After a 10-day hiatus, No. 18 Stanford field hockey (2-4) returns to the field this weekend, when it will travel to the Northeast to take on Massachusetts and Yale.
Two wins over the weekend could give the Cardinal some good momentum going into the beginning of conference play, which starts next week, and help the team improve its record after a difficult start to the 2016 campaign.
Four of Stanford’s six opponents from earlier this season are currently in the top 10, giving Stanford the highest strength-of-schedule rating in the nation. While Stanford lost each of its games against those top-10 teams, the Cardinal were competitive in all of them: All but one of the matches were one-goal games, including one that went into overtime.
Last week, Stanford shut out Cornell in a 1-0 victory on the road. The Cardinal recorded 11 shots in the first half, finally breaking through the Cornell defense with a goal from junior midfielder Sarah Helgeson. Stanford’s defense took it from there, keeping the Big Red at bay for the remainder of the matchup.
Going into this weekend’s games, Stanford boasts a well-rounded offense, with six players having scored on the season so far. Even against some of the nation’s better goalies and teams, the Cardinal have yet to be shut out this season. Attacker Jessica Welch has had an impressive start to her freshman year on the Farm, leading the team with 3 goals, while fellow freshman Kelsey Bing has exhibited steady play in the cage as well.
While UMass and Yale come into the weekend with winning records, each team’s strength of schedule is markedly lower compared to Stanford’s, and each has not fared too well against ranked opponents (the two teams have gone a combined 0-3 against the top 20).
After starting the season with a pair of losses, UMass (4-3) has won four out of its last five games, including its most recent game, a 3-1 win over Harvard. The Minutewomen have three players who have scored four or more goals this season, with Izzie Delario leading with 13 points (4 goals and 5 assists) and Melanie Kreusch, the team’s top scorer, with 5 goals.
Yale, on the other hand, has lost two of its last four games, including a 2-1 decision to No. 20 Albany. The Bulldogs will also take on Harvard two days before their matchup with Stanford.
The Cardinal will have to limit the production of Carol Middough, who leads Yale with 5 goals, including 2 game-winners. In the goal, Emilie Katz has also posted respectable numbers (1.66 goals against and a .737 save percentage).
The Cardinal will take on UMass in Amherst this Friday at 1 p.m. The team will then travel to New Haven, where it will attempt to complete a weekend sweep on Sunday at 9 a.m. against the Bulldogs.
Contact Alexa Philippou at aphil723 ‘at’ stanford.edu.