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Philadelphia connection will be key for Stanford women

Friday, 28th November 2008

Categories College, Girl's/Women's, Posted 11/28/08

The four-time defending league champion Stanford women’s lacrosse team – led by a Philly group that includes a new coach and several key returnees – faces what must be regarded as one of the most demanding schedules in school history when it begins play for the 2009 season in February.

First-year coach Amy (Umbach) Bokker, a Phoenixville graduate and 1991 high school All-American, announced a schedule that will include three East Coast trips and games against four 2008 NCAA tournament teams.

“It’s always been my philosophy to put yourself against the best during the season, so you go into the postseason ready to play,” said Bokker, who spent the past 12 season as coach at George Mason (school-best 12-5 last season).

This year’s Stanford team will feature Bess Siegfried (Agnes Irwin) and Julie Christy (Conestoga) at midfield, Amanda Schwab (Harriton) at attack and Ashley Aruffo (Episcopal Academy) at defense.

Siegfried, a senior, had 13 goals and 16 assists last year while leading the team with 17 caused turnovers and adding 16 groundballs. Christy, a junior, had 15 goals and 10 assists and paced the team with 35 draw controls while earning all-conference honors. Schwab had a solid sophomore season, notching 10 goals and three assists in three starts while sophomore Aruffo had two goals in a reserve role.

This local group will be vital to the success of a team that went 12-8 last year and defeated Denver, 9-8, for the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) title. Of the Cardinal’s 10 nonconference opponents, eight had winning records last season. The other two each went 8-9.

Among Stanford’s opponents are NCAA 2008 runner-up Penn, semifinalist Syracuse, quarterfinalist Maryland, and Notre Dame, another NCAA tournament team. Stanford plays all four on the road. Those four teams were a combined 32-4 at home last season.

Stanford begins the season with a pair of MPSF games, at Oregon Feb. 7 and with a home opener Feb. 12 against first-year program Fresno State, which will be playing its first-ever road game.

As difficult as the schedule is, Stanford went a combined 8-4 last year against its 2009 opponents. And against those tournament teams, Stanford went 2-1, including a stunning 10-8 home victory over Penn. The Quakers only other loss came in the NCAA final.

Highlighting the home schedule will be William & Mary, which was captained last season by new Stanford assistant Jaime Sellers, and is the alma mater of Bokker.

Stanford also will play host to the MPSF tournament April 23-26 at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.


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