No. 21 Stanford field hockey (7-3, 1-0 America East) gears up for a bout this weekend against No. 6 Michigan (8-4-0, 4-1-0 Big Ten) in the first half of a two-match event in Iowa City. Carrying incredible momentum with a herculean seven-game winning streak, the Cardinal brandished their prowess in a close victory against Pacific last Friday (2-1) and in their domination of UC Davis this past Sunday (5-0).
Sophomore attacker Corinne Zanolli – ranked second in the country in goals scored – gave an outstanding performance in the UC Davis game as she delivered a hat trick in the first period alone. At 15 goals in the season so far, Zanolli has already matched her total as a freshman last year. Junior goalkeeper Kelsey Bing also rose up to the challenge with 12 saves between the two games – it’s no wonder she has a solid 1.08 goals against average for the season. Zanolli was recently named America East Offensive Player of the Week while Bing was named America East Defensive Player of the Week. These are their second individual honors for the season.
Freshman attacker Lily Croddick also showed off her skills during this past game against the Aggies with her first career goal, while freshman defender Juli Porto thwarted UC Davis’ front lines. Head coach Tara Danielson had extra reason to celebrate the win over the Aggies, as it was her 60th career victory on the Varsity Turf and her 130th win overall as the Cardinal head coach.
Though the path has been triumphant so far, there may be a difficult road ahead. Michigan has won each of their last three games against Stanford.
There is no denying the sort of energy Michigan brings to the field after taking seven of their last eight games. The Wolverines’ senior attacker Emma Way ranks sixth nationally in goals scored and averages 1.08 goals per game. Teammate midfielder/forward Meg Dowthwaite has also scored five goals in the past five games.
The key for the Cardinal may be to keep the ball away from Michigan’s heavy offense as much as they can, making sure to focus on possession and place the ball in the capable hands of Stanford’s front line. And although the Cardinal defense may be tested by the Michigan offensive, it’s not like Bing and Porto aren’t capable of maintaining the impenetrable Cardinal bulwark.
There’s no doubt that this upcoming match will be hard-fought as Michigan aims to maintain their top spot and Stanford seeks redemption. The game will take place Saturday at 12:30 p.m. PT in Iowa City.
Contact Arman Kassam at armank ‘at’ stanford.edu.