Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - August 26, 2011

Cardinal takes aim at another NCAA bid

Stanford will depend on seniors Byrne and Moss, junior Dru

by Palo Alto Weekly Staff

Stephanie Byrne had a breakthrough junior season for Stanford's women's field hockey team during a triumphant season that ended in the NCAA tournament, the third time in the past four years, in which the Cardinal has appeared.

Byrne may be ready to take a bigger step for the Cardinal, which opens its season Saturday against Hofstra at the Husky Invitational in Connecticut.

There's a lot to like about Stanford this season, which set its sights at a high level again this season under second-year coach Tara Danielson, who guided the team to a 15-6 mark, the third-most wins in a season in program history.

Junior Becky Dru is another Cardinal to watch. She was named to the NFHCA All-West Region team after finishing with 13 goals, 10 assists, 36 points and 88 shots, becoming the first player to lead Stanford in all four categories in four years. Dru was named the NorPac Defensive Player of the Year, and earned NorPac Tournament MVP honors after recoprding five goals, three assists, 13 points and 20 shots over a three-game stretch to lead Stanford to its fourth consecutive tourney title.

Byrne has appeared in every game during her career, starting all but four. She had career-high totals in assists (8), points (20) and shots (40).

Named an All-NorPac selection for the first time since being named the league's Rookie of the Year in 2008, co-captain Byrne is a proven scorer and her experience figures to be a valuable asset on a roster loaded with talented freshmen and sophomores.

Veteran goalkeeper Ale Moss has been solid in the cage for Stanford throughout her career and more of the same is expected this season. A three-time All-NorPac honoree, Moss is coming off a season in which she established career-best totals in goals allowed (24) and GAA (1.31).

Although Moss' 85 saves were the fewest of her career, that can be attributed more to an improved Cardinal defense that limited its opponents to one goal or less in 12 contests. Extremely durable and reliable, Moss has appeared in 61 career games while making 57 starts. Perhaps even more impressively, Moss has always managed to elevate her game when it counts.

Freshman Kelsey Harbin was named to this year's U19 Junior Women's National Squad, and was joined by sophomore Elise Ogle at the USA Junior National Championships. Canadian freshmen Shannon Herold and Alex McCawley participated in their respective Junior National Team training camps, while fellow rookie Dulcie Davies is back as a member of England's Junior National Squad.

Redshirt juniors Devin Holman and Katie Mitchell and juniors Kelsey Lloyd and Alysha Sekhorn will also be major contributors along with sophomores Hope Burke, Courtney Haldeman, Emily Henricksson, Julia LaSalvia, Colleen Ryan and Anna Simmons.

Other freshmen include Maria Posa, Kasey Quon and Hannah Thiemann.

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