#LMRanks: No. 14 Stanford Cardinal (WD1)
|Anna Kim is expected to be a key for the Cardinal, both in the MPSF and beyond. (Gani Pinero)|
2013 Record: 14-6 (8-2 MPSF)
Coach: Amy Bokker (6th year)
Record at Stanford: 67-29
Power Ratings (scale of 1-5)
Draw Control: 4
M Anna Kim (Sr.)
Kim, a first team All-MPSF selection last year, is a player who makes an impact in all aspects of the game. In addition to her 32 goals, 11 assists, she finished second on the team in draw controls with 56 and added seven caused turnovers. In tight situations, she is the Cardinal's go-to player, and she doesn't back down from a challenge.
D Megan Lerner (Sr.)
The team's top defender last year, Lerner led Stanford with 25 caused turnovers and was a key in setting up the offense with a program-record 63 draw controls. She also was second in ground balls with 35.
"She gets a lot of draws for us and creates a lot of plays for us on defense," Bokker said. "She could definitely be a real difference-maker."
2009 - Did not qualify
2010 - First round
2011 - First round
2012 - Did not qualify
2013 - Second round
The Cardinal travels to the East Coast to play Towson on March 7 for just the second time in program history and will get an early glimpse of the 2014 Final Four site. Towson won the only other meeting of the teams, 10-9, in 2010.
The number of starters lost to graduation – which means the Cardinal has some experience returning this season. Eight of the projected starters are juniors or seniors, and the other four are sophomores who got valuable playing time as freshmen, including three as starters.
What Rival Coaches Say
"The class of the West is forming rivalries with Denver, USC and Oregon this year. Colorado to come... They're an interesting team to watch with creative defensive looks. Similar to all of their sports, I think they will compete at the highest level."
"They are one of the best-coached teams in the country. They have great athletes coming back on the attacking end. Rachel Ozer coming back is a solid playmaker, great hands, real quick feet. But I think the biggest thing for them is their athleticism. They have some returners that get up and down really well and they have some really good freshmen that I think will contribute, so I think they are going to be really dangerous this year."
In a Nutshell: A historical season began with a two-goal loss to Notre Dame, but the MPSF-champion Cardinal won a rematch to claim its first ever NCAA tournament victory. Stanford bounced back from the season-opening loss to the Irish with back-to-back wins over Harvard and then-No. 13 Ohio State, and later earned a victory over No. 19 James Madison. The team finished 14-6, including 3-4 against ranked opponents.
High Point: After ending the regular season with narrow victory over Cal, Stanford turned around to rout the Golden Bears, 16-6, five days later in the MPSF semifinals. Next, the Cardinal avenged a regular-season loss to Denver to win an eighth conference championship in nine years and followed that with a 7-6 win over Notre Dame to advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history.
Low Point: With the way the Cardinal's regular season ended, it was a surprise how strong the team finished. In the second to last game, Stanford dropped a disappointing 15-14 overtime loss to UC-Davis – after trailing by as much as five with 15 minutes left -- and nearly lost to California two days later. Rachel Ozer scored with eight seconds left to break a 13-13 tie and win the game.
Best Case: With so many returners from a solid 2013 season, including the entire offense, the Cardinal should expect even better results this year. The more experienced 2014 squad learned from its mistakes last year, and this time, winning the conference comes with greater ease. Stanford even takes it another step further, advancing beyond the second round of the NCAA tournament just one year after earning its first NCAA victory.
Worst Case: The Cardinal struggles to keep up its energy level after such a strong turnaround last season, and the team reverts back to some of the issues that left them below .500 in 2012. The amount of talent returning still makes it unlikely Stanford will experience any major drop-off, but the Cardinal doesn't have enough left in the tank at the end to win another NCAA tournament game.
Self-Examination— Amy Bokker on...
"She's just a great creator and dodger on the offensive end. We like her to get touches on the ball each and every set we play on offense. She's worked really hard on mixing up her shot selection in the offseason so we are really excited about her being a powerful scorer for us."
"She's completely committed and dedicated to seeing our team do well. She works really hard in the offseason. She's an athletic, quick, reactive goalie and she really does a lot for us in creating fastbreak opportunities out of the clear, so we're really excited about her athleticism in the cage and leadership."
"She's probably the biggest competitor on our team, if not one of the biggest competitors in the country. She played on our women's soccer team in the fall, and come spring when she's a part of our practices, our competition level really increases. She has a refuse-to-lose attitude and competes for every ground ball, every draw every time she's in there."
Lacrosse Magazine will continue its 2014 college lacrosse preview throughout January and into February, with team-by-team breakdowns of the top teams in NCAA Division I, II and III men's and women's lacrosse. Follow the countdown at LaxMagazine.com/LMRanks and on twitter at #LMRanks.