Sweet November: Stanford Begins NCAA Play At Home Against UC Santa Barbara

Nov. 12, 2008

STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford will begin its quest for the program's first national title this Friday, taking on UC Santa Barbara at 7 p.m. at The Farm in NCAA Tournament First Round action.

Stanford Takes Down California In Final Regular Season Match
The Cardinal finished out the regular season and conference schedule with a 3-0 win over California in Berkeley on Nov. 8. After playing to a scoreless tie in the first half, junior Kelley O'Hara (Fayetteville, Ga./Starr's Mill HS) broke the draw when she blasted in a half-volley at 51:15. Just under seven minutes later, sophomore Christen Press (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif./Chadwick HS) received the ball from freshman Teresa Noyola (Palo Alto, Calif./Palo Alto HS) and poked it past the Golden Bears' goalkeeper to make it 2-0 in favor of the Cardinal. At 84:33, Press completed her third multiple-goal season, bending the ball into the net for the final tally of the game.

Cardinal Dominates The Competition
Stanford completed its regular season schedule with a 18-1-1 record, only stumbling to second-ranked UCLA 1-0 late in the season, and tying fourth-ranked North Carolina 1-1 in September. In 17 of the 18 victories, the Cardinal scored at least three goals, and in the only match it didn't, it scored twice. Also, Stanford achieved all of its 18 victories by at least a two-goal margin.

NCAA Tournament History
The Cardinal was awarded its 11th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament when it was selected as an at-large bid into the 2008 bracket. Stanford has appeared in the postseason 18 times in the program's history and holds an overall record of 15-14-5 (.515). The Cardinal has only been to the College Cup once in program history, losing in the semifinals in 1993, and in 2001 fell just short of making it a second time, falling in penalty kicks to Portland in the quarterfinals. Head coach Paul Ratcliffe has led his team to the tournament in each of his six years on The Farm, and has twice advanced to the third round.

Scouting UC Santa Barbara
UC Santa Barbara earned the conference's automatic NCAA berth as a result of winning last week's Big West Tournament for the first time in school history. After playing to 1-1 ties through regulation and two overtimes, the Gauchos won penalty kick shootouts against Cal Poly (5-4) and Long Beach State (6-5) to advance to their first NCAA Tournament since 1991.UCSB and Stanford have played 12 times in a series that dates back to 1983. The Gauchos hold a 6-4-2 edge on the Cardinal, but they have not met since 1994. The teams have played once previously in the NCAA Tournament, in the first round in 1990, with Santa Barbara posting a 1-0 victory at home.The Gauchos went 12-6-3 over the regular season, and frequented the NSCAA top-25 poll, reaching as high as No. 21. Two of their three ties came in the Big West Tournament and both of those games were won in shootouts.UCSB has four players in double-digit points and 13 different goal-scorers, led by junior Genelle Ives, who has nine goals and seven assists. Also, sophomore Kailyn Kugler has seven goals and four assists while her classmate Jacqui Simon has six goals and eight assists. Freshman goalkeeper Ali Cutler has seen the majority of time between the pipes, posting a 8-3-3 record with four shutouts, 0.77 goals-against-average and a .836 save percentage on 147 shots faced.

In The Rankings
Stanford regained its No. 5 rank on the NSCAA poll following its 3-0 defeat of Cal. The Cardinal's highest current ranking is No. 3 on Soccer America's table and is no lower than No. 5 on any of the other publications' polls.

Amongst The Nation's Best
In all NCAA D-I competition, Stanford finished the regular season ranked in the top 10 in four of the five team statistical categories. The Cardinal posted the nation's third-best GAA (0.346), fourth-best won-lost-tied percentage (0.925), sixth-best scoring offense (3.1 goals per game) and shutout percentage (0.65), and cracked the top-20 in save percentage, taking 18th with 0.863. Individually, Kira Maker (Potomac, Md./Thomas S. Wootton HS) posted the third-best GAA (0.365) and was No. 26 in save percentage (0.857). Freshman Lindsay Taylor (Los Altos, Calif./Castilleja School) ranked 10th in goals-per-game (0.842) and 14th in points-per-game (1.84). Kelley O'Hara checked in at No. 14 in assists-per-game (0.58) and No. 22 in points-per-game (1.74). Also, Christen Press was 20th in points-per-game (1.75) and Teresa Noyola was 27th in assists-per-game (0.5).

Leading the Pac
On the Pac-10 side of things, Stanford led the conference in points (184), goals (62), assists (60), and was second in shots (398), goals allowed (7), and shutouts (13). Lindsay Taylor finished first in goals (16) and game-winners (7), and tied for first with Christen Press in points (35). Press took the most shots (80), was second in goals (13), and third in assists (9). Kelley O'Hara took the top spot in assists (11),finished third in points (33), and fourth in goals (11) and game-winners (4). Teresa Noyola followed O'Hara in assists, taking second with 10. Kira Maker had the second-best mark in GAA, save percentage, and shutouts (10).

Stanford Players Earn National Recognition
The Cardinal has earned two national and three Pac-10 players of the week honors, and has had eight different players named to a national team of the week this season. Most recently, Christen Press was named to Top Drawer Soccer's squad for her two-goal performance against Cal.

Throwing Everything And The Kitchen Sink
Stanford has amassed 398 total shots on its opponents, 218 of which were on goal, and has averaged 19.9 shots per game. All that effort has paid off too, as the Cardinal have a +55 goal differential.

Triple Threat
Stanford's opponents have had quite the time trying to diffuse the Cardinal offense this season, and for the most part, have been unsuccessful. Of the 67 goals scored by Stanford this season, the three starting forwards, Lindsay Taylor, Christen Press, and Kelley O'Hara, have been responsible for 40, and teams have had no luck in a game plan of singling out one player to shut down because two more are waiting to pounce on a scoring opportunity. All three have recorded multiple-goal games as well, with Taylor leading the pack after accomplishing the feat four times.

Midfielders Finding The Net
The remainder of those goals, save for one, have been put in by the midfield. And just like the three forwards, three midfielders, Camille Levin (Newport Coast, Calif./Tarbut V' Torah), Kristin Stannard (Midlothian, Va./Clover Hill HS), and Teresa Noyola, have all recorded multiple-goal performances in a single game.

The One-Two Punch
The Stanford offense scored at least one set of back-to-back goals just five minutes apart in half of its 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. At USC (11/2), Taylor converted at 83:22, and Press at 88:57, just 5:35 apart.

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 (Danville, Calif./San Ramon Valley HS), along with junior Alicia Jenkins (Diamond Springs, Calif./Union Mine HS) have made things relatively easy for goalkeeper Kira Maker, who has only had to make 42 saves in 20 games, recording 10 shutouts and a 0.365 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 67 goals the Cardinal has recorded so far this year, freshmen Lindsay Taylor (16), Teresa Noyola (6), Camille Levin (5), and Kristy Zurmuhlen (Walpole, N.H./Fall Mountain Regional HS) (1) have contributed 28. 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). Taylor got her seventh game-winning goal aginst USC (11/2).

O'Hara A Double-Edged Sword
Kelley O'Hara, last season's leading scorer with nine goals, boosted her production and is the only Cardinal player this season to post double digits in goals and assists (11 each). 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 four game-winning goals and her most recent one came against Cal (11/8). 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
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 ... the Cardinal finished second in the Pac-10 with one loss ... following weekend action, be sure to check out http://www.youtube.com/stanfordathletics 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 81-32-19 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
Should the Cardinal prevail over Santa Barbara and win the second round game on Sunday, it would host third round action Friday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m.

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