Uploaded: Saturday, May 8, 2010, 5:18 PM
Stanford lacrosse officially in NCAA Sweet Sixteen
Flynn, Schmidt combine for eight goals in 15-12 victory over Massachusetts
|By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Sports Online
Stanford senior defender Eleanor Foote is thankful for new experiences, passionate teammates and rational coaches.
The combination has led the 15th-ranked Cardinal women's lacrosse team to its second ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Junior Sarah Flynn scored five goals as Stanford downed visiting Massachusetts, 15-12, in an NCAA Play-in game Saturday.
The Cardinal (15-5) finds out Sunday sometime after 7 p.m. who and where it will be playing in the Sweet Sixteen come May 15.
"It's nice to know we'll see our name called this year," Foote said. "We met last year to watch (the selection show) expecting to keep playing. We were bummed."
Stanford, which hadn't been to postseason competition since 2006, felt snubbed when the NCAA selection committee overlooked it after a breakthrough season. There wasn't even a play-in game available.
"We deserved to be there," Foote said. "But that's been our motivation all year. Getting there now is a tribute to last year's seniors and the players who set the foundation before us."
Foote is part of a group of seniors who were willing to take on a schedule heavyset with the top teams in the nation over the past four years in order to establish a perpetual contender and draw some of the top lacrosse athletes.
"This is the first step for us," Stanford coach Amy Bokker said. "Our goal was getting to the NCAA tournament and now the players and staff wants to do more than that. We talk our being 'Stanford good.' We want to contribute to the championships."
Foote came to Stanford from Boston, and never had any intention of staying close to home. She wanted an experience that differed completely from where she was raised. She played three sports in high school and didn't really pick up lacrosse until middle school.
"In Maryland they start playing when they're three," Foote said. "I started out playing soccer instead."
Foote claims there's no one individual player who serves as inspiration or team leader. It's a shared responsibility among all players, even the ones who may not get on the field often.
"We do have a strong senior presence but it really is a team effort all the way through," said the Human Biology major. "It's not one person. We get energized from everyone."
After the Minutewomen took a 4-2 advantage in the first 11 minutes, Stanford went to work. The Cardinal scored seven of the next nine goals to grab a 9-6 advantage and never trailed again.
Flynn and senior Claire Hubbard each scored twice during the run. Hubbard also added an assist, giving her 40 for the year and extending her single-season school record. She's also the all-time leader with 87.
Lauren Schmidt, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Year, added three goals and Amanda Schwab had two for Stanford, which won its seventh straight and 10 of 11.
Foote began her college career under former coach Michele Uhlfelder, who guided the Cardinal into the NCAA tournament four years ago. Stanford made history that season, becoming the first team from west of the Mississippi to break into the field.
It didn't take long for the Cardinal to bond with their new coach.
"Amy is amazing," Foote said. "She's super positive. We all appreciate the coaches' dedication. They're rational coaches. They may make a decision I might not agree with, but after talking about it, I see the reasoning."
Sophomore defender Paige Farmakis led Stanford with six ground balls.
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