Stanford Captures Nike Invitational Title with 3-0 Win Over Boston University

Sept. 17, 2006

Stanford, Calif. - The Stanford women's soccer team downed No. 24 Boston University this afternoon, blanking the Terriers, 3-0. The Cardinal posted its fifth shutout in six games and improves to 5-3-0 on the season. The Terriers, who were coming off of a Friday night upset of No. 3 Santa Clara, were handed just their second loss of the season, and fall to 5-2-1. The decisive 3-0 victory earned the Cardinal the Stanford Nike Invitational title, as the team's three goals for the weekend topped the totals of Santa Clara, BU and Tennessee.

Two evenly matched teams battled for possession in the first half, as both?the Cardinal and Terrier defensive units denied each other open looks at?the goal. Boston University challenged first in the ninth minute when?Lauren Erwin had a one-on-one opportunity with Stanford goalkeeper?Alex Gamble, but the senior missed the goal to the left. Minutes later Rachel Buehler gave the Cardinal its first opportunity, as?the defender took a long run up the field to the goal. The senior sent a low shot from the?middle, but the ball was saved by BU goalkeeper Christina Reuter.

In the 29th minute,?Buehler set up another near-goal for the Cardinal. Buehler served the ball?to freshman Ali Riley but Reuter scooped it up before Riley could?get a foot on it.??With 16:42 remaining in the half, sophomore Kate Mannino sent a ball to Kelley O'Hara in front of?the net, but O'Hara's sharp header went just over the top of the goal.? Stanford finished the first half with four shots to the Terriers' three.

In the second half, however, Stanford took control and never looked back. The Cardinal rattled off ten second half shots and netted three goals in an 18-minute span to take home the win and a third-straight Nike Invitational title.

Stanford started the onslaught less than three minutes in, when an Allison Falk header went just right of the net. Two minutes later sophomore Hillary Heath served the ball to Shari Summers in front of the net and the senior sent a sharp header past BU goalkeeper Janie Reilly. The goal was Summers' third game-winner of the season.

The goal gave the Cardinal momentum and opened the door for an offensive run that would last until the final horn. Less than four minutes after her goal, Summers drilled another shot from the middle that was saved by Reilly.

At the 57:02 mark, the Cardinal struck a second-time, with an insurance goal by O'Hara. Junior Lizzy George slid the ball to the freshman in the middle, who sent a hard shot on the ground to the back of the net. The goal was the second of O'Hara's career and the seventh by a Cardinal freshman this season.

Summers had another look at the goal in the 59th minute, but her one-touch shot off of an O'Hara pass missed high. Freshman Alicia Jenkins had a good look six minutes later, but her shot sailed over the goal.

The Cardinal found the target again at the 67:10 mark. Sophomore Marisa Abegg fed the ball ahead to George on the right side. George hit the ball from a hard angle, and sent it into the left corner of the net. The goal was the third for the junior this season and the 11th of her career.

Stanford continued to push the Terriers, with three more shots before the end of the match, including two by sophomore Kelley Birch. Led by Summers' three, Stanford finished with 14 shots to the Terriers four. The Stanford defense posted it fifth shutout of the season and allowed just one BU shot in the second half.

'I think it was a great victory over a difficult opponent,' said Stanford head coach Paul Ratcliffe. 'I think our team played very well. Individually, Lizzy George and Shari Summers had great performances in the midfield and I think that was the difference today.'

The Cardinal returns to action on Friday, hosting the UC Irvine Anteaters in a 5 p.m. match-up at Maloney Field. On Sunday, Stanford will take on San Diego State in a match set for noon.

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