Cardinal Could Clinch Pac-10 Title This Weekend In Los Angeles

Oct. 29, 2008

STANFORD, Calif. - The undefeated Stanford women's soccer team is preparing for a big weekend in Los Angeles, and will need to take home two wins against fourth-ranked UCLA and No.10 USC this weekend in order to secure its first Pac-10 Championship since 2002.

Cardinal Secure Two Wins In Final Regular Season Home Matches
The fifth-ranked Stanford women's soccer team sustained its undefeated record, overpowering Arizona (10/24) and Arizona State (10/26). On Friday against the Wildcats, the Cardinal were kept scoreless in the first half, but exploded for three goals in the second half courtesy of the freshmen class. Lindsay Taylor (Los Altos, Calif./Castilleja School) struck twice off assists from classmates Teresa Noyola (Palo Alto, Calif./Palo Alto HS) and Camille Levin (Newport Coast, Calif./Tarbut V'Torah), while Noyola got one of her own with assitance from sophomore Christen Press (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif./Chadwick HS) and junior Kristin Stannard (Midlothian, Va./Clover Hill HS). Arizona spoiled what would have been Stanford's 12th shutout with a converted penalty kick late in the game, putting the final score at 3-1.

On Sunday, junior Kelley O'Hara (Fayetteville, Ga./Starr's Mill HS) and four different freshmen made it a memorable Senior Day for the class of 2009, as the Cardinal blasted the Sun Devils 5-0. O'Hara got things going after finishing a long ball that originated in the back from senior defender Allison Falk (Danville, Calif./San Ramon Valley HS) and junior Alicia Jenkins (Diamond Springs, Calif./Union Mine HS) and was credited with the game-winner, her tenth goal of the season, in the 19th minute. Taylor then notched her 15th goal of the season with assists from O'Hara and Noyola to make it 2-0 at half. In the second period, Levin and Noyola (from Press) each added a goal, and fellow rookie Kristy Zurmuhlen (Walpole, N.H./Fall Mountain Regional HS) scored her first career goal in the 89th minute. With the wins, Stanford now stands at 16-0-1 overall and 6-0-0 in the Pac-10.

Scouting UCLA
The Cardinal's Pac-10 title hopes ride on Friday night's match, as fourth-ranked UCLA is the only other top-25 team besides Stanford and Notre Dame to have not suffered a loss this season. The Bruins have 14 wins and defeated third-ranked Portland 1-0 on the road early in the season (8/30) and escaped the Los Angeles derby against No. 10 USC this past Friday with a 2-1 win in front of 7,804 fans at the Los Angeles Coliseum. While UCLA has yet to lose, they have posted two tough 0-0 draws on the road against unranked Brown (9/14) and Santa Clara (9/25).

Five Bruins have point totals in the double-digits, including juniors Lauren Cheney, who elected to stay with her team instead of traveling to Chile for the U-20 Women's World Cup, and Kristina Larsen lead the team in goals with nine each. Freshman Sydney Leroux, a Canadian U-20 National Teamer who will be heading to Chile soon, has five goals and assists apiece. Redshirt senior goalkeeper Ashley Thompson continues to lead the nation in goals-against-average (.196) and save percentage (.942). UCLA has only allowed three goals all season, earning 13 shutouts in 16 games and currently have a 44-game home unbeaten streak on the line this Friday.

Scouting USC
Sunday's match against the defending national champion Trojans will be no walk in the park either. USC will again utilize the LA Coliseum for the afternoon match against the Cardinal in an attempt to draw yet another large crowd following the season's most attended D-I women's soccer game between the Trojans and Bruins last Friday (7,804). USC has only lost three times this season, falling to Portland 1-0 (9/1), UCLA 2-1 (10/24), and was upset by Arizona State 1-0 in regulation in Tempe.

Senior Amy Rodriguez leads the team in scoring with seven goals and three assists, and sophomore Ashli Sandoval, like Rodriguez, has 17 points (5G+7A). Junior Kristin Olsen has the majority of minutes in the net for the Trojans, stopping 34 shots and conceding 10 goals for a 0.77 GAA and 0.773 save percentage in 15 appearances.

In The Rankings
Stanford remained in the No. 5 position in the NSCAA national rankings, yet has been consistently noted as the second-best team in the country in three of the other national polls and has been making its mark on the NCAA and Pac-10 statistical charts.

In all NCAA D-I competition, Stanford is ranked in the top five in four of the five team statistical categories, holding second place in won-lost-tied percentage (0.971), third in GAA (0.29), fifth in scoring offense (3.29 goals per game), and is tied for fourth in shutout percentage with Western Kentucky (0.706). Individually, Kira Maker (Potomac, Md./Thomas S. Wootton HS) ranks third in the country with a GAA of 0.309. Lindsay Taylor is 10th in goals-per-game (0.882) and tied for 13th in points-per-game (1.94) Kelley O'Hara is in a tie for 12th in assists-per-game (0.65) and holds 21st in points-per-game (1.82). Christen Press also appears on the assists-per-game chart in a tie for 29th (0.53).

On the Pac-10 side of things, the Cardinal leads the conference in points (170), goals (56), scoring offense, assists (58), assists-per-game (3.41), and is second in shots (350), goals allowed (5), and GAA. Individually, Taylor leads in goals (15) and goals-per-game, game-winning strikes (6), and points (33) and points-per-game. Press tops the league in shots (698), holds second in assists (9) and is tied for second in goals with O'Hara (10), and is third in shots-per-game (4), points (29), and assists-per-game (0.53). O'Hara leads the conference in assists (11) and assists-per-game (0.65) and is second in points (31) and points-per-game (1.82). Also, Teresa Noyola is tied for third in assists with California's Megan Jesolva with 8. Maker is the league's best goalkeeper in shutouts (9) and shutouts per game (0.53), is second in GAA, and third in save percentage (0.833).

Stanford Players Earn National Recognition
The Cardinal has earned two national and three Pac-10 players of the week honors, and has had seven different players named to a national team of the week this season. Most recently, Teresa Noyola became the third Stanford player to hit the trifecta, making all three publications' (Top Drawer Soccer, Soccer America, and Soccer Buzz) national teams of the week for the week of Oct. 20-26 for recording two goals and two assists against the Arizona schools in Pac-10 play.

Offensive Firepower
Stanford has outscored its opponents 56-5 so far this season and the scoring is widely distributed amongst the roster with seven players having multiple goals and two with a single tally. The Cardinal has also out shot its opponents 350-102 (191-32 on goal), averaging 20.6 (11.2 on goal) shots per game. The three starting top-liners and Morgan Redman have been responsible for 37 goals, and when defenses are trying to shut them down, the midfield has stepped up and knocked in 17 of their own. Three midfielders, Camille Levin, Kristin Stannard, and Teresa Noyola, have all recorded multiple-goal performances in a single game. All three starting strikers have also accomplished the feat, with Taylor putting in multiple goals on four separate occasions.

Don't Blink...
The Stanford offense has scored at least one set of back-to-back goals within five minutes in nine of its 17 games this season. Against Pacific (8/24), the Cardinal recorded all five of its goals in the shutout victory in a 19 minute segment in the first half. One week later, Stanford scored two of its three goals in a 2-0 victory over No. 15 Boston College (8/31) in the 4th and 8th minutes. At the Georgia/Nike Invitational, the Cardinal notched its final two goals in a 3-0 defeat of Auburn (9/5) just one minute and seven seconds apart, while against No. 22 Georgia (9/7), Stanford posted both of its goals in the 16th and 21st minutes to win the game. In a 4-1 victory over Yale (9/19) at the Santa Clara/adidas Classic, Camille Levin and Christen Press scored the Cardinal's third and fourth goals just 1:11 apart. Against Santa Clara (10/3), Press put in Stanford's third goal of the game just under five minutes into the second half, and four minutes later Lindsay Taylor completed her hat trick with the Cardinal's fourth goal. Against Oregon State, Levin helped put the Beavers away early, scoring the team's second goal at 12:14, just 2:44 after Taylor's eventual game-winner. In Seattle, Levin and O'Hara put the one-two punch on Washington (10/17) for the game's first two goals, scoring in the 17th and 20th minutes. Against Arizona (10/24), Noyola earned the game-winner and Taylor scored an insurance goal four minutes and 16 seconds later.

Rock Solid Defense
Stanford's back line of captains junior Ali Riley (Pacific Palisades, Calif./Harvard-Westlake HS), Marissa Abegg (Lake Oswego, Ore./Lakeridge HS), and senior Allison Falk, along with junior Alicia Jenkins have made things relatively easy for goalkeeper Kira Maker, who has only had to make 25 saves in 17 games, recording nine shutouts and a 0.309 GAA. Maker has been outstanding when called upon, and has had to step up and make game-changing big saves in games against Santa Clara (10/3) and Oregon State (10/12).

Fabulous Freshmen
Of the 56 goals the Cardinal has recorded so far this year, freshmen Lindsay Taylor (15), Teresa Noyola (6), Camille Levin (5), and Kristy Zurmuhlen (1) have contributed 27. Taylor, scored once in the season opener against Pacific (8/24), added another against No. 15 Boston College (8/31), and notched three goals at the Georgia/Nike Invitational (9/5-7). She tacked on her sixth goal against Saint Mary's (9/26), and recorded her first career hat trick against Santa Clara (10/3) before adding her tenth against Oregon State. She got her third multiple-goal game against Washington State (10/19), netting two. Most recently she added a fourth multi-goal game against Arizona (10/24) with two, and posted one against Arizona State (10/26). Noyola has added eight assists to her six goals for 20 points, good enough for fourth best on the team, and is involved in just about every Stanford offensive surge. Levin, who was moved to the holding mid position after starting the season in the back, has produced five goals, four assists, and even more scoring opportunities for her side . Zurmuhlen scored her first career goal in the 89th minute against Arizona State. Shira Averbuch (Upper Montclair, N.J./Montclair HS) has also contributed two assists, aiding Kristin Stannard's insurance goal against UNC Greensboro (9/14) and Morgan Redman's second goal of the season against Oregon (10/10).

O'Hara A Double-Edged Sword
Kelley O'Hara, last season's leading scorer with nine goals, has turned out to be the Cardinal's main setup gal this season and has a team-leading 11 assists. She has also already surpassed her goal total from last season, and currently has 10 tallies. Her timing is impeccable too, as she's been putting the ball in the net at important moments. Three of her goals have come within the big-five minute periods both at the beginning or end of a half, and each time increased her team's momentum in the game. She earned her first multiple-goal game of the year against Washington (10/17), scoring twice and adding two assists, and capped off the weekend in the Pacific Northwest with a insurance goal against Washington State (10/19). She has three game-winning goals and her most recent one came against Arizona State (10/26). O'Hara is also the one who scored the game-tying goal against then-ranked No. 5 North Carolina with 3:30 left in the game, forcing two overtime periods in which Stanford went on the offensive, firing six shots to the Tar Heels' two in the first extra segment (9/12).

Cardinal Notes
The Cardinal was selected as the preseason favorite to take the Pac-10 title in the conference coaches' poll, ahead of 2007 National Champion USC and College Cup participant UCLA ... Stanford returned 18 letterwinners this season, seven of which were starters from last season's roster, and added seven newcomers that made up the No. 6 ranked Soccer Buzz recruiting class ... every home Cardinal soccer game this season will be webcast live on All-Access, providing there is no TV conflict, and as always, live stats will be available on CBS College Sports' GameTracker ... following weekend action, be sure to check out on Tuesdays for the women's soccer team's goal of the week video.

Head Coach Paul Ratcliffe
Head Coach Paul Ratcliffe became Stanford's all-time leader in career wins on Oct. 24 following a 3-1 defeat of Arizona, surpassing Berhane Andeberhan's 77 victories in his sixth year at the helm of the Cardinal program. Ratcliffe has accumulated a 79-31-19 record and has piloted Stanford to an NCAA Tournament appearance each year he has been in charge, capped off by two consecutive Sweet Sixteen appearances in 2006 and 2007.

Looking Ahead
The Cardinal will wrap up the regular season in a 2 p.m. match on Saturday, Nov. 8 at California. The Monday following the game, the NCAA Tournament selections will be announced, and Stanford will find out where and when it will begin its quest for its first national title.

Lindsay Taylor's Goal Against USC

Kristy Zurmuhlen's First Career Goal

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