Sports

Stanford in NCAA field hockey as at-large team

 

The Stanford women's field hockey team not only earned a spot in the NCAA tournament, it earned the No. 7 seed and will serve as the higher seed for the first time in school history.

The Cardinal (17-3) meets No. 10 seed Duke (13-7) when opening-round action gets underway this weekend.

The game will be played in Norfolk, where Old Dominion, the tournament's No. 2 seed, is the host institution. No. 15 seed Ohio State meets Old Dominion.

Stanford is in the NCAA tournament for the 11th time in school history and for the fourth time in the last five years.

Despite suffering a loss in the NorPac Championship title game, Stanford was selected as an at-large team for the first time in program history thanks to an impressive overall body of work. The Cardinal tied a school record with 17 victories and was one of seven Division I teams with three losses or less.

Stanford ended the year ranked No. 7 in the final edition of the RPI, and had been ranked as high as No. 4 and among the top-10 for most of the year. Stanford was 6-3 against top 20 teams.

The Cardinal is looking for its first postseason victory, having lost in the first round in its previous 10 appearances. Stanford lost, 3-1, to North Carolina in last year's tournament.

This year's field includes 16 teams (five automatic bids, eight at-large berths and three play-in winners) competing in a single-elimination format. The 2011 NCAA Championship is slated for Nov. 18-20 in Louisville, Ky., and will be hosted by Louisville.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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