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Outlook: No. 12 Field Hockey

Aug 27, 2013


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Stanford has remained a fixture in the national rankings for all but one week during head coach Tara Danielson's tenure. So, a No. 12 ranking in the Penn Monto/NFHCA Preseason poll doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

This marks the fourth straight year Stanford has earned a preseason national ranking, as the Cardinal was pegged at No. 11 last season after checking in at No. 20 during the previous two seasons. Stanford will have an opportunity to climb in the poll right away, hosting No. 4 Connecticut in its season opener on Saturday in a nationally-televised game on the Pac-12 Network. Stanford matched its highest ranking in school history at No. 6 back on Sept. 27, 2011.

The national preseason poll's top-10 includes: No. 1 North Carolina, No. 2 Maryland, No. 3 Princeton, No. 4 Connecticut, No. 5 Syracuse, No. 6 Penn State, No. 7 Virginia, No. 8 Old Dominion, No. 9 Michigan and No. 10 Duke.

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This year's 18-game regular-season schedule features five contests against NCAA Tournament squads from a year ago and five television appearances on the Pac-12 Networks. A total of eight teams ranked in the top-20 of the final 2012 Kookaburra/NFHCA Division I National Coaches poll appear on Stanford's schedule.

Aug. 31 vs. Connecticut Seeking first win vs. UConn, which earned 12th BIG EAST Tourney title last year.
Sept. 2 vs. Michigan State Labor Day matinee represents fourth straight year these two teams have faced off.
Sept. 6 vs. New Hampshire Wildcats finished 12-8 in 2012 and captured America East regular season title.
Sept. 8 vs. VCU VCU’s 13 victories in 2012 represented second-highest total in school history.
Sept. 14 vs. Central Michigan Neutral site game against Chippewas is Stanford’s first away from Varsity Turf.
Sept. 15 at Iowa Stanford has won three in a row against Iowa, which has made 22 NCAA's.
Sept. 20 vs. California Stanford swept all three meetings last year and has won 12 of the last 16.
Sept. 28 vs. Syracuse Orange coming off 20-win campaign that ended with second-ever Final Four berth.
Sept. 29 at Albany Albany playing 11 home games, most since the program started Division I play.
Oct. 4 vs. Pacific Stanford has won 13 in a row since Pacific's last victory back on Sept. 30, 2006.
Oct. 6 at UC Davis UC Davis hosts second home match after welcoming Missouri State on Aug. 30.
Oct. 11 vs. UC Davis Save your scouting reports: second of two matchups against Aggies in six days.
Oct. 13 vs. Yale Bulldogs return eight players who started 10+ games, two All-Ivy League picks.
Oct. 18 at Wake Forest Wake Forest’s non-conference slate: seven 2012 NCAA Tournament teams.
Oct. 20 at Duke Blue Devils looking to improve on 7-11 campaign and 0-5 mark in ACC play.
Oct. 25 vs. Michigan Wolverines led series 6-0 before Cardinal posted 3-0 shutout two years ago.
Oct. 28 vs. Pacific Rare Monday game also represents Senior Night on The Farm.
Oct. 31 at California NorPac's elite programs clash in second of three potential meetings.
Nov. 7-9 NorPac Championship Lynchburg, Va., is destination for this year's event, hosted by Liberty.

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2012 Season Snapshot In 100 Words
Stanford (16-7, 6-0 NorPac) is coming off another impressive campaign, reaching the NCAA Tournament for a fourth straight year and capturing the NorPac Championship for the fifth time in six years. The Cardinal, which has been a fixture in the national rankings for all but one week over the last three years, navigated through a grueling non-conference schedule in which it played four games against the nation's No. 1-ranked team at the time. Stanford has now won at least 15 games over each of the last four seasons while compiling a dominating 22-2 record in conference play during that same stretch.

The NorPac's Premier Program
Stanford blanked Liberty 3-0 in the 2012 NorPac Championship final, capturing its fifth conference tournament crown in six years. The Cardinal was faced with a different challenge against conference newcomer Liberty, a fast-rising program in only its second year of existence. However, even against a different opponent, Stanford came away with the same result. The previous six NorPac Championship title games resulted in a Stanford-California matchup, with the Cardinal defeating the Golden Bears in four of those contests.

Who Is Coming Back?
There is plenty of talent on the roster, led by seniors Hope Burke (9 goals, 9 assists, 27 points, 35 shots) and Courtney Haldeman (8 goals, 17 points, 28 shots). Burke, who recorded hat tricks in two different games, earned high praise as a Longstreth/NFHCA West Region Second Team selection. Junior Kelsey Harbin (5 goals, 5 assists, 15 points, 34 shots) is a Longstreth/NFHCA Third Team All-American and centerpiece of Stanford’s defense. Fellow junior Alex McCawley (5 goals, 4 assists, 14 points, 46 shots) is a two-time All-NorPac honoree and capable offensive standout. The coaching staff is raving about sophomore Maddie Secco (6 goals, 5 assists, 35 shots). Lauren Becker (6 goals, 21 shots) and Dulcie Davies (23 starts, 1.54 GAA, 76 saves) should also build off strong rookie seasons.

Who Will Be Missed?
It’s not going to be easy, but Stanford must find a way to replace two-time Longstreth/NFHCA First Team All-American Becky Dru. All the Buckinghamshire, England, native did last year was lead the Cardinal in goals (12), assists (12), points (36), shots (65) and game-winning goals (3). Arguably one of the most decorated players in school history, Dru totaled 54 goals, 36 assists, 144 points, 311 shots and 15 game-winning goals in 87 career games. Dru was also honored as the 2012 NorPac Player of the Year, earning the distinction for the second straight season while collecting her fifth conference award overall. Dru’s production will be greatly missed, but the Cardinal has enough pieces to place to make it work.

Who Can Make A Difference?
Four newcomers highlight this season's roster and there is opportunity for immediate impact. The highly-touted class includes: Kristina Bassi (Mountain View, Calif.), Caroline Beaudoin (Yorktown, Va.), Casey Deeds (Monument, Colo.), Fran Tew (Suffolk, England). Freshmen have typically made an immediate impact within Danielson’s system, so there is opportunity if this group is ready to go. The latest heralded international product to arrive on The Farm, Tew gained valuable experience as a member of England’s fourth-place squad at the Junior World Cup earlier this month.

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Junior Kelsey Harbin (USA), sophomore Maddie Secco (Canada) and freshman Fran Tew (England) all gained valuable experience on the sport’s biggest stage this summer, representing their countries at the Junior World Cup in Monchengladbach, Germany.

Team USA booked a 4-2 win over South Africa to finish in seventh, matching its best finish in Junior World Cup history. Do you feel like this year’s tournament run was a step in the right direction for US field hockey?

Harbin: “Placing in the top-7 in the world is a huge accomplishment that our team was very proud of, but as we watched the final game, we knew that we could be there playing for a medal. I think that mentality in itself is a positive step for US field hockey. After playing against all of the top teams in the world, we know that we can compete with anyone. Our team came out of the tournament more fired up than ever to earn a medal in the next Olympics.”

One constant throughout the tournament was the scorching heat all teams faced during competition. Especially in Canada’s 5-1 win over Russia, with extra water breaks splitting the 35-minute halves into 17.5-minute quarters due to the excessive temperatures.

Secco: “We arrived in Germany about a week before the World Cup began, in an effort to get acclimated to the weather. Our staff was very careful about hydration, so our weights were recorded every morning before breakfast. Right after games or practices, we were weighed a second time and told how much water we needed to replenish ourselves. This process certainly opened my eyes, as I realized I was down almost two kilograms of water between the time I woke up and the time our game or practice was over! Additionally, our warm-ups were sometimes condensed by 15 minutes to avoid heat-exhaustion.”

One of England’s biggest wins of the tournament was a hard-fought 2-1 win over Germany in pool play. Describe what it was like to get a win over the host country and how the fans and the atmosphere made for such an exciting game.

Tew: “Our final group game against Germany was the most invigorating game I have ever played in. The importance of the match and the roaring home crowd meant the pressure was intense. After having lost to Germany five times this season, we were delighted to win when it mattered and get through to the quarter finals.”

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- Brian Risso, Athletic Communications/Media Relations