Nov. 18, 2008
STANFORD, Calif. - The top-seeded Stanford Cardinal have advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament for the third year in a row and will match up against Rutgers on Friday, Nov. 21 at home in Sweet Sixteen action.
Stanford Completes Regular Season 18-1-1, Ranked Fifth In The Nation
The Cardinal vanquished four ranked teams and tied then-No. 5 North Carolina on the way to a 18-1-1 record at the end of the regular season. The mark was second only to the 2002 season, in which Stanford went 19-1-0, for a program best. The Cardinal finished second in the Pac-10 after suffering its only loss of the season to UCLA, 1-0, on Oct. 31. Of Stanford's 18 wins, all of them were by at least a two-goal margin, and the Cardinal scored three or more goals in 17 of those victories.
Stanford Breezes Through First Two Rounds; Advances to Sweet Sixteen
The top-seeded Cardinal scored seven goals and gave up none, leaving UC Santa Barbara and Kansas in its wake after first and second round play this past weekend at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium. Sophomore Christen Press (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif./Chadwick HS) scored the game-winner and senior Allison Falk (Danville, Calif./San Ramon Valley HS) insured the win in a 2-0 victory over the Gauchos on Friday. Press notched another goal, and four other different players got on the board to blast the Jayhawks on Sunday. Press was the leading points scorer on the weekend with two goals and one assist, good for five points.
NCAA Tournament History
Stanford was awarded its 11th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament when it was selected as an at-large bid into the 2008 bracket. The Cardinal has appeared in the postseason 18 times in the program's history and holds an overall record of 17-14-5 (.542). Stanford has only been to the College Cup once in program history, losing in the semifinals in 1993, and in 2001 fell just short of making it a second time, falling in penalty kicks to Portland in the quarterfinals. Head coach Paul Ratcliffe has led his team to the tournament in each of his six years on The Farm, and has thrice advanced to the third round.
The unranked, unseeded Scarlet Knights defeated two ranked teams to earn its ticket to the Sweet Sixteen. In the first round, Rutgers exacted revenge on No. 20 Penn State for an earlier loss in the season, ousting the Nittany Lions from the tournament with a 2-1 double-overtime victory. A day and a half later, the Scarlet Knights played seventh-ranked Oklahoma State to a nil-nil tie, and then won the subsequent penalty kick shootout 4-2. None of Rutgers' shooters missed, while junior goalkeeper Erin Guthrie stopped OSU's second attempt, and the Cowgirls' third attempt sailed wide.
Junior Caycie Gusman has tallied the most goals for the Scarlet Knights, with 8, while senior Kristen Edmonds has knocked in five goals and added six assists. Senior Alicia Hall also posts a significant amount of goals (6) and junior Gina DeMaio has 13 assists. Guthrie has earned nine shutouts in 21 games, and has a 0.60 GAA accompanied by a .856 save percentage.
Stanford is 2-0 all-time against Rutgers (both were regular-season victories), and last defeated the Scarlet Knights 4-1 at the 2007 Stanford/Nike Classic.
In The Rankings
The Cardinal finished the regular season with a NSCAA rank of No. 5. Stanford's highest final regular-season rating came from Soccer America, who titled the Cardinal the third-best team in the country.
Amongst The Nation's Best
In all NCAA D-I competition, Stanford is ranked in the top 10 in all five team statistical categories. The Cardinal posts the nation's third-best GAA (0.315) and shutout percentage (0.682), fourth-best won-lost-tied percentage (0.932), fifth-best scoring offense (3.14 goals per game) and eighth-best save percentage (0.868). Individually, sophomore goalie Kira Maker (Potomac, Md./Thomas S. Wootton HS) holds the third-best GAA (0.33) and is tied for 13th in save percentage (0.863). Freshman Lindsay Taylor (Los Altos, Calif./Castilleja School) ranked 15th in goals-per-game (0.762) and junior Kelley O'Hara (Fayetteville, Ga./Starr's Mill HS) is tied for 16th in assists-per-game (0.57). Three Cardinal are in the top-25 in points-per-game. Christen Press is 16th (1.82), O'Hara is 23rd (1.71), and Taylor is tied for 25th (1.67)
Leading the Pac
On the Pac-10 side of things, Stanford leads the conference in points (203), goals (69), assists (65), shots (449), and is second in goals allowed (7), and shutouts (15). Lindsay Taylor is first in goals (16) and game-winners (7), and is third in points (35). Christen Press has taken the most shots (100), leads in points (40), is second in goals (15), and tied for second in assists (10). Kelley O'Hara holds the top spot in assists (12), is second in points (36), and tied for third in game-winners (5). Teresa Noyola (Palo Alto, Calif./Palo Alto HS) followed O'Hara in assists, tying Press for second with 10. Kira Maker has the league's most shutouts (12), and second-best GAA and save percentage.
Stanford Players Earn National Recognition
The Cardinal earned two national and three Pac-10 player of the week honors, and has had eight different players named to a national team of the week this season. Most recently, Christen Press was named to Top Drawer Soccer's squad for her two-goal performance against California.
Stanford Nearly Sweeps Pac-10 Awards
Lindsay Taylor was named the 2008 Pac-10 Women's Soccer Freshman of the Year and head coach Paul Ratcliffe was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year, as the Cardinal took two of the three major league postseason awards. Taylor, along with six other Stanford women also were honored by the conference, as three were named first-team All-Pac-10, while four others were selected to the second team.
Getting It Done OFF The Field
Allison Falk and Kira Maker were recently named ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans, as Falk was selected to the second team and Maker was honored on the third team. Falk has earned a 3.75 cumulative grade-point-average in American studies, while Maker boasts a nearly perfect 3.92 GPA and has yet to declare a major.
Throwing Everything And The Kitchen Sink
Stanford has amassed 449 total shots on its opponents, 243 of which were on goal, and has averaged 20.4 shots per game. All that effort has paid off too, as the Cardinal have a +62 goal differential.
Stanford's opponents have had quite the time trying to diffuse the Cardinal offense this season, and for the most part, have been unsuccessful. Of the 69 goals scored by Stanford this season, the three starting forwards, Lindsay Taylor, Christen Press, and Kelley O'Hara, have been responsible for 43, and teams have had no luck in a game plan of singling out one player to shut down because two more are waiting to pounce on a scoring opportunity. All three have recorded multiple-goal games as well, with Taylor leading the pack after accomplishing the feat four times.
Midfielders Finding The Net
The remainder of those goals, save for two, have been put in by the midfield. And just like the three forwards, three midfielders, Camille Levin (Newport Coast, Calif./Tarbut V' Torah), Kristin Stannard (Midlothian, Va./Clover Hill HS), and Teresa Noyola, have all recorded multiple-goal performances in a single game.
The One-Two Punch
The Stanford offense scored at least one set of back-to-back goals just five minutes apart in half of its games this season. Against Pacific (8/24), the Cardinal recorded all five of its goals in the shutout victory in a 19 minute segment in the first half. One week later, Stanford scored two of its three goals in a 2-0 victory over No. 15 Boston College (8/31) in the 4th and 8th minutes. At the Georgia/Nike Invitational, the Cardinal notched its final two goals in a 3-0 defeat of Auburn (9/5) just one minute and seven seconds apart, while against No. 22 Georgia (9/7), Stanford posted both of its goals in the 16th and 21st minutes to win the game. In a 4-1 victory over Yale (9/19) at the Santa Clara/adidas Classic, Camille Levin and Christen Press scored the Cardinal's third and fourth goals just 1:11 apart. Against Santa Clara (10/3), Press put in Stanford's third goal of the game just under five minutes into the second half, and four minutes later Lindsay Taylor completed her hat trick with the Cardinal's fourth goal. Against Oregon State, Levin helped put the Beavers away early, scoring the team's second goal at 12:14, just 2:44 after Taylor's eventual game-winner. In Seattle, Levin and O'Hara put the one-two punch on Washington (10/17) for the game's first two goals, scoring in the 17th and 20th minutes. Against Arizona (10/24), Noyola earned the game-winner and Taylor scored an insurance goal four minutes and 16 seconds later. At USC (11/2), Taylor converted at 83:22, and Press at 88:57, just 5:35 apart. In the NCAA Tournament, Stanford scored three goals in the final 11 minutes of the first half on their way to a 5-0 victory over Kansas.
Rock Solid Defense
Stanford's back line of captains junior Ali Riley (Pacific Palisades, Calif./Harvard-Westlake HS), Marissa Abegg (Lake Oswego, Ore./Lakeridge HS), and senior Allison Falk, along with junior Alicia Jenkins (Diamond Springs, Calif./Union Mine HS) have made things relatively easy for goalkeeper Kira Maker, who has only had to make 44 saves in 22 games, recording 12 shutouts and a 0.33 GAA. Maker has been outstanding when called upon, and has had to step up and make game-changing big saves in games against Santa Clara (10/3) and Oregon State (10/12).
Of the 69 goals the Cardinal has recorded so far this year, freshmen Lindsay Taylor (16), Teresa Noyola (6), Camille Levin (6), and Kristy Zurmuhlen (Walpole, N.H./Fall Mountain Regional HS) (1) have contributed 29. Taylor, scored once in the season opener against Pacific (8/24), added another against No. 15 Boston College (8/31), and notched three goals at the Georgia/Nike Invitational (9/5-7). She tacked on her sixth goal against Saint Mary's (9/26), and recorded her first career hat trick against Santa Clara (10/3) before adding her tenth against Oregon State. She got her third multiple-goal game against Washington State (10/19), netting two. Most recently she added a fourth multi-goal game against Arizona (10/24) with two, and posted one against Arizona State (10/26). Noyola has added eight assists to her six goals for 20 points, good enough for fourth best on the team, and is involved in just about every Stanford offensive surge. Levin, who was moved to the holding mid position after starting the season in the back, has produced six goals, four assists, and even more scoring opportunities for her side . Zurmuhlen scored her first career goal in the 89th minute against Arizona State. Shira Averbuch (Upper Montclair, N.J./Montclair HS) has also contributed two assists, aiding Kristin Stannard's insurance goal against UNC Greensboro (9/14) and Morgan Redman's second goal of the season against Oregon (10/10). Taylor got her seventh game-winning goal aginst USC (11/2).
O'Hara A Double-Edged Sword
Kelley O'Hara, last season's leading scorer with nine goals, boosted her production and was the first Cardinal player this season to post double digits in goals and assists (now has 12 each). Her timing is impeccable too, as she's been putting the ball in the net at important moments. Three of her goals have come within the big-five minute periods both at the beginning or end of a half, and each time increased her team's momentum in the game. She earned her first multiple-goal game of the year against Washington (10/17), scoring twice and adding two assists, and capped off the weekend in the Pacific Northwest with a insurance goal against Washington State (10/19). She has five game-winning goals and her most recent one came against UCSB in the first round of the NCAA Tournament (11/14). O'Hara is also the one who scored the game-tying goal against then-ranked No. 5 North Carolina with 3:30 left in the game, forcing two overtime periods in which Stanford went on the offensive, firing six shots to the Tar Heels' two in the first extra segment (9/12).
Stanford returned 18 letterwinners this season, seven of which were starters from last season's roster, and added seven newcomers that made up the No. 6 ranked Soccer Buzz recruiting class ... the Cardinal finished second in the Pac-10 with one loss ... following weekend action, be sure to check out http://www.youtube.com/stanfordathletics on Tuesdays for the women's soccer team's goal of the week video.
Head Coach Paul Ratcliffe
Head Coach Paul Ratcliffe became Stanford's all-time leader in career wins on Oct. 24 following a 3-1 defeat of Arizona, surpassing Berhane Andeberhan's 77 victories in his sixth year at the helm of the Cardinal program. Ratcliffe has accumulated a 83-32-19 record and has piloted Stanford to an NCAA Tournament appearance each year he has been in charge, capped off by three consecutive Sweet Sixteen appearances in 2006-2008.
Should the Cardinal prevail over Rutgers, it would host quartefinal round action Friday, Nov. 28 at 7 p.m.