By Michael T. Bello
Published May 4, 2016 at 7:00 AM ET; Updated May 1, 2016 at 7:56 PM ET

Stanford UniversityHatfield, MA — Stanford University won the 2016 Most Improved Team Award.

The Most Improved Team Award is based on both the number of spots a team has improved in the rankings as well as the strength of the opponents they have surpassed. This award was first presented in 2010. Voting for the Most Improved Team Award was conducted after Team Championships, which allowed schools to view Team Championship results prior to casting their vote.

After concluding the 2014 – 2015 season by winning the Kurtz Cup (B Division), Stanford’s goal was to return to the Howe Cup (A Division) at this season’s National Team Championships. In late November, the Cardinal squad surprised many by defeating perennial top-4 ranked Trinity College, adjusting many people’s expectations for the 2015 – 2016 season.

The 2015 – 2016 Stanford squad finished the year with a 12-6 record. They fell to Yale in the Howe Cup consolation final, 4-5, to finish the season ranked 6th in the nation. This ties the Cardinal’s best finish in program history.

The 2015-2016 Stanford team was led by head coach Mark Talbott and captains Maddy Gill, Sarah Haig, Carolyn Gillette, and Abby Giannuzzi.

This is the first time Stanford has won the Most Improved Team Award.