Rachel Buehler and Nicole Barnhart Help U.S. U21 Team to Nordic Cup Title
July 27, 2005
KARLSKOGA, Sweden - Stanford graduate Nicole Barnhart and redshirt sophomore Rachel Buehler helped the United State Under-21 Women's National Soccer Team to an unprecedented seventh-consecutive Nordic Cup title with a 4-1 win over Norway on Tuesday.
With the victory, the USA has remarkably won eight of the last nine Nordic Cup tournaments dating back to 1997. The Nordic Cup, held every summer in northern Europe, is the world's premier competition for U-21 women. The USA defeated Norway in the championship game in 1997 and 1999, but lost in the 1998 final. Since that loss, the USA has dropped just one match in the Nordic Cup in the last seven years. The Nordic Cup has been staged since 1990 and no team besides the USA has won it more than twice in a row, which Sweden accomplished twice in the early 1990s.
Barnhart, a member of the Senior National Team, participated for the second year as one of the two over-age players allowed on the roster. Barnhart, who has started the last two Nordic Cup tournaments in goal, has been a part of four-consecutive Nordic Cup titles (2002-05). Buehler, who played the tournament with a broken nose, took last season off from Stanford in order to play with the U.S. U-19 World Cup Team, but will return this fall for her sophomore season.
Buehler, a center back, and Barnhart helped anchor a U.S. defense that allowed just two goals in the tournament, both after the games had been decided.
'Norway played fairly direct, and our back line was challenged a lot,' said head coach Jillian Ellis. 'Our shape was excellent and they won lots of balls in the air. [Barnhart] came up with couple of big saves, but overall our team defense was great.'