No. 11 Cal Opens Pac-10 Play at No. 1 Stanford
Oct. 9, 2007
BERKELEY, Calif. -
CAL TRAVELS TO NO. 1 STANFORD: Riding the momentum of a three-game winning streak, capped by a 2-0 road victory over No. 1 Santa Clara, No. 11 California (8-2) opens Pac-10 play at No. 1 Stanford (9-1-1) Friday, Oct. 12, at 7:30 p.m. at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium. The Bears, who have recorded eight shutouts in 10 games, are second in the nation in shutout percentage at 80.0 percent, behind only Virginia (83.3 percent, 10 of 12 games).
CAL IN THE POLLS: Despite not playing last week, Cal moved up one spot to No. 11 in the Soccer America poll. Soccer Buzz kept the Bears at No. 17. The NSCAA (No. 18) and Soccer Times (No. 16) polls will be announced on Tuesday.
A LOOK AT THE PAC-10: In the preseason coaches' poll, Cal was tabbed to finish third, behind UCLA and Stanford. The first-place votes were divided between the Bruins (five), the Cardinal (three) and the Bears (two). The rest of the poll features USC fourth, Oregon fifth, Washington State sixth, Arizona State seventh, Arizona eighth, Washington ninth and Oregon State 10th. In 2006, UCLA won the conference crown, while Cal placed sixth at 3-3-3.
BEARS BLANK SMC, SANTA CLARA: Cal finished the non-conference season with an 8-2 record following a 4-0 shutout of Saint Mary's Sept. 28 and a 2-0 victory over No. 1 Santa Clara Sept. 30. Freshman forward Alex Morgan posted a hat track - one goal in the first half and two in the second - to lead Cal to the easy win over the Gaels. Her hat trick was the first by a Cal player since Sierra Schlesinger accomplished the feat in a 5-0 win at Pacific Sept. 26, 2004. Senior midfielder Caroline Lea notched a goal and an assist against Saint Mary's. Morgan recorded her second game-winning goal of the weekend to lead No. 22 Cal past Santa Clara. Morgan struck first in the 29th minute, with sophomore Gina Pellegrini getting credited with a rare goalkeeper assist. Junior midfielder/forward Nikki Schrey added an insurance goal in the 40th minute. Morgan was recognized as the Pac-10 and Soccer America Player of the Week and earned a spot on Soccer Buzz's Team of the Week for her outstanding play.
SHUTOUTS CORRESPOND WITH CAL WINS: Cal has won every game this season that it has posted a shutout. The Bears have become synonymous with shutouts in recent years. In 2005, Cal tied the school record with 14 shutouts and followed that effort with 12 shutouts in 2006. The Bears have registered shutouts in 34 of their last 54 games (63.0 percent), including eight of 10 outings this season. Gina Pellegrini and freshman Jorden Kussman have shared time in goal for the Bears this year. Cal boasts a 0.59 goals-against average (24th NCAA) as a team. The backline unit of seniors Courtney Hooker and Kristine Relja, junior Nkechi Kanu, sophomore Brianna Bak and freshmen Megan Jesolva and McKenna-Louise McKetty have played integral roles in the Bears' stingy defense.
MORGAN, LEA LEAD BALANCED CAL ATTACK: Ten players have accounted for Cal's 19 goals this season. Alex Morgan leads the way in points (10) and goals (5). Caroline Lea is second on the team in points (7) and goals (3). Senior forward Stephanie Wieger, senior midfielder Caitlin Hannegan and redshirt sophomore forward Katherine Daiss are tied for third on the team in points (6) and goals (2). Wieger, Hannegan, Daiss and Megan Jesolva are tied for the team lead in assists with two.
LOWE'S SENIOR CLASS AWARD: Courtney Hooker was one of 20 players selected as a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, which is given to a senior men's and women's student-athlete who excels on and off the field. The award is presented annually in eight Division I sports. Hooker is one of three Pac-10 players on the women's soccer list (UCLA's Val Henderson and Stanford's Rachel Buehler are the others.)
SCOUTING STANFORD: Stanford, which holds the No. 1 ranking in the Soccer Buzz poll, is led in points by Shari Summers and Morgan Redman with 10 each. Summers holds the team lead in goals with five. The all-time series between Cal and Stanford is even at 11-11-3. Cal has won the last two games, including a 1-0 home triumph in 2006. Brianna Bak headed in the game-winning shot in the 89th minute. In 2005, Cal blanked Stanford, 2-0, on the road.
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