May 13, 2016
After falling in a heartbreaking MPSF Championship loss to No. 4 USC (19-0, 9-0 MPSF), No. 9 Stanford women’s lacrosse (14-4, 8-1) heads to Los Angeles to compete against unranked opponent James Madison University (10-9, 5-1 CAA) in the first round play of the NCAA Tournament. The game will be played on Friday, May 13 in the historic L.A. Coliseum, home of the USC Trojans, with the winner advancing to Sunday’s second round game against the Women of Troy.
Senior Meg Lentz (left) has anchored Stanford’s defense this season, causing 20 turnovers and recording 33 groundballs. (HECTOR GARCIA-MOLINA/stanfordphoto.com)
Like Stanford, JMU was selected for an automatic bid into the NCAA First Round. The Dukes fell short in their CAA title game to their conference rival, Towson University.
The JMU team is making their 13th appearance in the NCAA Championship this weekend. It is the team’s fourth time receiving an at-large bid for the national tournament. Ironically, the last time the Dukes made it past the first round tournament was in 2010, in a tight 9-8 victory against the Cardinal. In 2000, JMU made it all the way to the NCAA Final Four.
On the other hand, the Cardinal enter Friday’s first round game with a 14-4 overall record and as the runner-up in both the MPSF regular season and Tournament. This year’s NCAA appearance marks Stanford’s sixth season in seven years competing in the national tournament, with the Cardinal holding a 2-6 all-time record in the tournament. Last season Stanford fell to Florida, and the only time the program has made it past the first round play was in 2013 when it beat Notre Dame and went on to lose against Northwestern. This season the Cardinal looks to make program history by putting together a deep tournament run and earning a spot in the Final Four.
On Friday, Stanford will look to come out of the gate strong and capitalize on its offensive opportunities. All season, the Cardinal have proven to be an attacking threat – they are currently ranked 11th in the nation in points per game with 13.11. The team’s star scorers, junior Kelsey Murray, sophomore Kelly Myers and senior Anna Salemo, all finished out regular season play with at least 29 goals. Myers remains the team’s draw control specialist, leading her team to be the fifth best in the nation in draw controls.
On the other end of the field, senior Meg Lentz held her defense together as Stanford’s primary man-to-man marker. Throughout the season she caused 20 turnovers and produced 33 groundballs, representing the grit and power of the Cardinal defense.
Friday’s game marks the sixth time that JMU and Stanford have played, dating back to 2007. Although the Dukes hold a 3-2 lead in the series, they enter Friday’s game as the underdog. Nevertheless, both teams will be playing with their seasons on the line and a chance to move one game closer to the national championship. Four out of the five times these two teams have competed, the game ended in a one-goal difference. The Dukes and the Cardinal should expect the game to be a 60-minute battle.
The game, set for Friday, May 13 at 3 p.m., will be streamed online.
Contact Sydney Shaw at sshaw17 ‘at’ stanford.edu.