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No. 11 Stanford set to open its field hockey season

 

For the second consecutive year, Stanford was picked to win the West Division of the America East conference in the annual preseason coaches poll.

The Cardinal (13-7 last year) received three of four first-place votes in the West Division, leading the way with nine points (coaches cannot vote for their own team). Pacific received one first-place vote for seven points and California and UC Davis both collected four points.

"The team is excited for the 2016 season and applying the hard work invested in the off-season," Cardinal coach Tara Danielson said. "As a top three conference, we expect to face a competitive America East schedule, in addition to a challenging non-conference schedule that includes four top-10 teams from 2015 in our first five contests."

Stanford is 46-9 at home under Danielson, including 4-2 in home openers.

Albany, the 2014 and 2015 America East champion, was picked to win the East Division, followed by Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and UMass-Lowell. The Cardinal will not meet any of these teams until the America East tournament Nov. 3-6 in Stockton, Calif.

The Cardinal comes off a 2015 season that saw it advance to the NCAA tournament for the 14th time in program history after advancing to the semifinals in the America East tournament.

America East All-Conference picks Caroline Beaudoin, Sarah Helgeson, along with senior Fran Tew, were named team captains.

In addition, the Cardinal also topped four ranked opponents, including No. 5 Duke, No. 14 Northwestern, No. 15 Iowa and No. 19 Maine.

Stanford ranked as high as No. 5 in the nation for three consecutive weeks and was 4-3 against top-20 opponents.

The Cardinal was ranked 11th in the preseason NFHCA Top 20 poll, the second-highest in program history.

Stanford has been busy in the off-season, with ten Cardinal competing nationally and internationally representing teams in the Young Women's National Championship, the U.S. Women's National Indoor Team, the U.S. U-21 Women's National Team, the Junior Pan-American Championship, as well as multiple junior national camps.

Stanford opens its 2016 campaign at home Friday against 2015 NCAA semifinalist and 2014 and 2013 NCAA Champion, Connecticut. Game time is 4 p.m. on the Varsity Turf.

The Cardinal hosts Kent State at noon Sunday.

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