Stanford Begins Pac-10 Play in Los Angeles
Oct. 3, 2006
Stanford, Calif. -
This Week: The Stanford women's soccer team begins Pac-10 play this weekend in Los Angeles, taking on the Trojans of USC and the Bruins of UCLA. The Cardinal will meet the Trojans, currently ranked as high as No. 19 in the polls, in a 3 p.m. contest on Friday afternoon. On Sunday, Stanford will face No. 4 UCLA, last year's Pac-10 Champion, at 1 p.m.
On The Horizon: Stanford returns home to continue conference play the weekend of Oct. 13, facing Arizona State and Arizona. Stanford will meet the Sun Devils at 7:30 p.m. in a Friday night contest, before attempting to avenge last year's 2-1 loss to the Wildcats on Oct. 15 at 2:30 p.m. The weekend will be the second in a set of Cardinal soccer double-headers this season, as the Stanford men's team kicks off prior to both women's games.
So Far This Season: Stanford is 7-4-0 so far in 2006 and has shutout opponents in seven of its last nine matches. During the opening weekend, the Cardinal dropped two close matches to Utah and 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. At the Stanford Nike Invitational, Stanford was edged by No. 10 Tennessee, 1-0, before blanking No. 24 Boston University, 3-0. On Sept. 22, Stanford topped UC Irvine 2-0, while out-shooting the Anteaters 27-1. Two days later, Stanford dropped San Diego State, 4-0, behind two first half goals by senior Shari Summers. On Saturday night, the Cardinal out-shot No. 3 Santa Clara 15-2, holding the Broncos to by far their lowest shot total of the season, but fell 2-0. Stanford has now outscored opponents 21-7 and held each of its last nine opponents to two shots on goal or less.
Pac-10 Preview: Nine of the ten conference teams enter the Pac-10 season with a winning record. UCLA currently leads the conference with a 9-2-0 record (.818), followed by California (7-1-2, .800) and USC (7-2-1, .750). Oregon State is currently riding a four-game win streak, while UCLA and California have each won three in a row. As a whole the Pac-10 has faced 19 teams currently ranked in the NSCAA poll and holds a 2-16-1 record against them. The Cardinal has played the most ranked teams in the non-conference season (4), while UCLA, Washington and Arizona have each played three. Stanford and UCLA are the only two teams to have captured a win over a current top-25 opponent, as UCLA topped No. 8 Texas A&M on Sept. 8 and the Cardinal topped No. 12 Boston University on Sept. 17.
By the Numbers: At the start of the conference season, the Stanford squad is tied for the top mark in the Pac-10 in goals, as Stanford and Oregon State have both netted 21 in 2006. The Cardinal stands second in shots, just 11 behind league-leader UCLA. Defensively, Stanford ties for second in the conference with seven shutouts, just one short of UCLA's eight. Stanford is also second in the league with a +1.27 scoring margin, topped only by the +1.50 margin of USC. Individually, Shari Summers is tied for fourth in the league in points per game, is fifth in shots per game and second in goals per game. Kelly O'Hara is fourth in the conference in shots per game and sixth in goals per game, while Hillary Heath, Lea MacKinnon and Lizzy George all rank fifth in total assists with three apiece.
Stanford in Pac-10 Openers: Stanford has won nine of its 13 Pac-10 conference openers and has not lost an opener since the 2000 season. Last year, Stanford topped Washington State at home, 1-0, to start Pac-10 play. The last time the Cardinal faced USC in the conference opener was in 2002, when Stanford topped the Trojans 2-0 in Los Angeles.
The Series with USC: Stanford boasts a 9-3-1 record in the series with USC, having won three of the last four meetings between the two programs. Last season, the Cardinal fell to the Trojans for the first time since 1998, suffering a 1-0 loss at home when Nini Loucks scored with just over two minutes to play. In the all-time series, Stanford has outscored USC 36-12.
Scouting the Trojans: The head coach of the Trojans is Jim Millinder, who is in his 11th year at USC. Last season, he led the Trojans to a third place finish in the Pac-10, a 13-6-2 overall record and the program's seventh NCAA appearance. Sixteen letterwinners and nine starters return from last season, and the experienced team has posted a 7-2-1 record so far in 2006. The Trojans fell to Notre Dame early in the year, but responded with a six-game winning streak that was capped by a win over San Diego on Sept. 22. In their last outing, the Trojans fell to Loyola Marymount, after the Lions scored two goals in the final seven minutes of action. Senior midfielder Rosa Anna Tantillo leads the Trojans with four goals and seven assists this season. Sophomore Nini Loucks also has four goals, while sophomore Amy Rodriguez has notched two goals and two assists since her return from the U-20 World Cup five games ago. Junior goalkeeper Veronica Simonton is currently second in the conference in both goals-against average (.51) and total shutouts (5).
The Series with UCLA: Stanford and UCLA are a pair of tightly matched programs, as the series to date consists of five Cardinal wins, six Bruin wins and three ties. Last season, the teams battled through two overtimes, but ended in a 0-0 deadlock. The four prior meetings have consisted of a trio of 1-0 decisions and another 0-0 tie. Over the last 10 years of the series, the Bruins have a slight edge over the Cardinal in goals, 12-11.
Scouting the Bruins: At the helm of the Bruins is William & Mary alum Jillian Ellis, who begins her 10th season as head coach at UCLA. Her team returns 20 letterwinners and nine starters from last year's squad, which captured the Pac-10 Championship and advanced to the NCAA Final match. This year, the Bruins dropped their first contest of the season to No. 3 Penn State, 3-1. The team then won six straight, including a 2-1 victory over No. 3 Texas A&M at home and a 3-0 victory over No. 11 Connecticut. On Sept. 22, No. 5 Santa Clara blanked the Bruins for the first time in 2006, 3-0, but the team has rebounded with a series of wins over WCC foes No. 19 Pepperdine, San Diego and Gonzaga. Freshman Lauren Cheney leads the team with eight goals and 16 points this season, while freshman Kristina Larsen has scored three. Junior Danesha Adams, who scored 21 goals for the Bruins last year, has already netted three goals in her first five games back from the U-20 World Cup in Russia.
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