Stanford Hosts UC Irvine and San Diego State

Sept. 19, 2006

Stanford, Calif. -

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This Week: The Stanford women's soccer team faces two Southern California foes this weekend, as the Cardinal hosts the UC Irvine Anteaters and San Diego State Aztecs at Maloney Field. On Friday, the Cardinal begins the weekend with an early 5 p.m. kickoff against the Anteaters. Sunday, the team will face the Aztecs in a match set for noon. Both games will be part of Cardinal double-headers, as the Stanford men's team kicks off 30 minutes after the conclusion of both women's games.

On The Horizon: On Sept. 30, Stanford heads to Buck Shaw Stadium for the annual showdown with No. 5 Santa Clara. The Cardinal will attempt to upset the Broncos for the second-straight season, after Rachel Buehler's game-winner lifted the Cardinal to victory a year ago. Four of the last five meetings between the two Bay Area rivals have been decided by one goal or less, and two of the last three have gone to overtime.

So Far This Season: Stanford is 5-3-0 so far in 2006 and has shutout opponents in five of its last six matches. During the opening weekend, the Cardinal dropped two close matches to Utah and then-No. 23 Wake Forest at the Santa Clara/adidas Classic. Stanford then cruised past San Francisco, Cal Poly, Rutgers and Long Island, holding all four opponents scoreless. Last weekend, Stanford was edged by No. 10 Tennessee, 1-0, before blanking now-No. 12 Boston University, 3-0.

Underdog Takes the Title: With three top-25 teams in the Stanford Nike Invitational last weekend, the Cardinal had lined up one of the most challenging fields in the history of the tournament. Yet, Stanford, the only unranked team in the bunch, came out on top. With all five freshman playing key roles, the young Cardinal scored as many goals in the weekend as all three ranked foes combined. After a series of 1-0 decisions, Stanford rallied in the final match of the weekend and scored three times in an 18-minute span to blow by now-No.12 BU. Stanford has now won its home tournament six of the last seven years.

A Team Effort: So far this season, the Cardinal has challenged opponents with a balanced attack, as the entire team has contributed t0 the Stanford offensive effort. Against Boston University, nine different players took a crack at the goal and 11 players took shots for the weekend. Fourteen of the 18 Cardinal field players have contributed to the squad's scoring effort with a goal or an assist this season. As a team, Stanford has out-shot opponents 106-42, and outscored opponents 13-1 in the last six games.

George Leads the Way: One of Stanford's leading scorers in 2005, junior Lizzy George is on her way to the top of the Cardinal scoring column again this season. After a solid performance off the bench in Friday's close game with Tennessee, George spurred the Cardinal offense to come back and claim the tournament title on Sunday. In the 58th minute, George sent a ball to Kelley O'Hara in front of the net to give the Cardinal a 2-0 lead over BU. Ten minutes later, George took a feed from teammate Marisa Abegg and sent a shot in from a hard angle on the right side to seal the Stanford win. George led the team with three points this weekend and now leads the Cardinal will three goals, two assists and eight points on the season.

The Series with UC Irvine: Stanford and UC Irvine have met just once in women's soccer, a match that ended knotted at 0-0 in 1988. Stanford is no stranger of Big West opponents, however, as the Cardinal holds a 13-7-2 record against the conference as a whole. Earlier this season, Stanford posted a 2-0 win over Cal Poly, while the Anteaters have dropped two matches to Pac-10 opponents in 2006. UC Irvine has faced every Pac-10 school at least once in program history and holds an 11-35-5 all-time record against them.

Scouting the Anteaters: The Anteaters are under new leadership this season, as former U.S. Women's National Team coach April Heinrichs is in her first year at the helm of the program. Heinrichs inherits a team that lost just three letterwinners and two starters from last season and promises to make a turnaround after last year's 5-12-2 record and eighth place finish in the Big West. After dropping their first five games, the Anteaters have won their last two. The team topped Buffalo on Sept. 10, and upset No. 22 San Diego with a 2-1 win on Sunday. All five Anteater goals this season have been scored by different players. Junior Makenzie Beahm leads the team with three points, however, and senior Lauryn Birkinshaw has two assists. Goalkeeper Erin Henry has already posted 33 saves.

The Series with San Diego State: Stanford is 5-0-1 against the Aztecs, having won the last three games between the two teams. The last meeting was on Sept. 28, 2001, when Stanford topped San Diego State 2-1 at the Santa Clara adidas Classic. The schools have a history of close games, however, as five of the last six matches between the two have been decided by one goal or less. The Cardinal is 13-5-1 against Mountain West teams, while San Diego State stands 18-32-5 against the Pac-10.

Scouting the Aztecs: The Aztecs return 17 letterwinners and nine starters to a team that finished 2005 with an 11-9-2 record and took sixth place in the Mountain West. Head Coach Mike Giuliano is in just his third year with the program, but has more than 200 wins under his belt as a head coach. So far the Aztecs are 4-5 this season, including a 4-0 win over then-No.21 Purdue. Leading the way is sophomore Erika Sutton, who has notched three goals and four assists this season. Fellow sophomore Jen Mello is close behind with three goals and two assists. Junior goalkeeper Cat Burson has already posted 38 saves.

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