(From Stanford Daily) After defeating No. 3 Penn in its last game of the 2009 season, in which it was left out of the NCAA tournament, the Stanford women’s lacrosse team needed a vacation. The team got one last weekend, albeit with a lot of hard work included, as the Card traveled to the East Coast looking to kick off the new school year with a bang and get ready for the spring season.
With a weekend of five “friendly” matches over two days, the team was able to play together for the first time and get a look at what to expect this year.
“Playing games like these early in the fall is awesome because it lets us know what we need to work on and look forward to for the rest of the year,” said senior Dana Lindsay.
On Saturday, the Cardinal took on Harvard and the University of Massachusetts, and Sunday brought games against Boston College, Boston University and the University of New Hampshire. The games were played without a visible scoreboard and clock, and an official score was not kept, but they served as a way to “play against some great competition and get a good sense of what [the team] needs to work on for the upcoming season,” according to head coach Amy Bokker.
Lindsay agreed, saying, “It’s always fun for us to take a trip to the East Coast in the fall, and we are so thankful for the opportunity to go and play tough competition this early in the year.”
Coach Bokker also emphasized the benefit of not keeping score, adding, “All of our players got to play, and we had the opportunity to see some great combinations offensively and defensively.”
In addition, the Cardinal used the trip to work off the summer rust and welcome some new faces from the Class of 2013. Although Stanford lost co-captain Melissa Vogelsong, all-conference selection Maris Perlman and midfielder Jamie Nesbitt to graduation, the Cardinal return all four 30-goal scorers from last season, including top scorer Sarah Flynn (36 goals). The 2009-10 roster lists 10 new freshmen, in addition to the rest of the upperclass returnees.
Coach Bokker thinks the combination will prove effective for the Card this year. “The freshmen are doing really well,” she said. “We have a strong group of returners, and [the freshmen] had the chance this weekend for the first time to compete side by side with them, which was great.”
However, the road trip was only the beginning of what could be a very memorable season for the team.
In the coming weeks, Stanford will continue preparing for the excitement of the spring season, with fall friendly matches against Saint Mary’s, UC-Davis, Cal and others. Hopefully, the Card will continue to successfully build on each of these matches in anticipation of the season.
With returning experience, some new talent and lots of the practice, this could be the year for the Stanford women’s lacrosse team.
“We have a ton to look forward to in the regular season this year,” Lindsay said. “From our big home opener against Northwestern to the opportunity we have to win an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, Stanford lacrosse has the chance to make a powerful statement this spring.”