Stanford Readies For The 2008 College Cup

Dec. 2, 2008

STANFORD, Calif. - The fifth-ranked Stanford women's soccer team is readying itself for its first College Cup appearance since 1993, and will face top-ranked Notre Dame in the NCAA Semifinal Friday, Dec. 5 at 1:30 p.m. PT. The match is schedule to be simulcasted live on ESPN2, ESPNU, and ESPN360.com.

The winner of the contest between the Cardinal and Fighting Irish will go on to play the winner fourth-ranked North Carolina and No. 2 UCLA, who will meet in the second quarterfinal on Friday, in Sunday's national championship game at 11 a.m. PT. The championship match will also be televised live on ESPN2.

Press Sends Stanford To The College Cup
In front of a home sellout-crowd of 2,300, sophomore Christen Press (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif./Chadwick HS) scored the game-winner and lone goal of the game in the 86th minute against Portland on Friday, Nov. 28, sending the Cardinal to the College Cup for the first time since 1993. The victory over the Pilots avenged a quarterfinal loss in penalty kicks to Portland suffered by Stanford in 2002, the last time the Cardinal was in the Elite Eight.Stanford is now 22-1-1 overall, and with its 22 wins which set a new school single-season record for victories, will face Notre Dame in the semifinals. The winner of the match will go on to play the winner of UCLA and North Carolina in Sunday's national championship at 11 a.m. PT.

O'Hara Boosts the Cardinal Into The Quarterfinals
After Stanford out-shot Rutgers 24-2, junior Kelley O'Hara (Fayetteville, Ga./Starr's Mill HS) volleyed her team into the NCAA Quarterfinals for the first time since 2002 when she scored her sixth game-winning goal of the year with 4:46 left to play to give the Cardinal the 1-0 victory over the Scarlet Knights in front of a home crowd on Friday, Nov. 21.

Late Heroics
In the third-round victory over Rutgers and the quarterfinal triumph over Portland, both 1-0 wins, each game-winner for Stanford came in the 86th minute. The two games are the Cardinal's only one-goal victories of the season. Coincidently, in Stanford's September 1-1 draw with North Carolina, the only other game that the Cardinal only scored one goal, O'Hara stuffed in the game-tying goal in the 87th minute. The match against the Tar Heels was the only time this season that Stanford has gone to overtime.

Stanford Breezes Through First Two Rounds
The top-seeded Cardinal scored seven goals and gave up none, leaving UC Santa Barbara and Kansas in its wake after first and second round play at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium. Christen Press scored the game-winner and senior Allison Falk (Danville, Calif./San Ramon Valley HS) insured the win in a 2-0 victory over the Gauchos on Friday, Nov. 14. Press notched another goal and four other different players got on the board to blast the Jayhawks 5-0 in a second round match on Nov. 16. Press was the leading points scorer on the weekend with two goals and one assist, good for five points.

Stanford Completes Regular Season 18-1-1, Ranked Fifth In The Nation
The Cardinal vanquished four ranked teams and tied then-No. 5 North Carolina on the way to an 18-1-1 record at the end of the 2008 regular season. The mark was second only to the 2002 season, in which Stanford went 19-1-0, for a program best. The Cardinal finished second in the Pac-10 after suffering its only loss of the season to UCLA, 1-0, on Oct. 31. Of Stanford's 18 wins, all of them were by at least a two-goal margin, and the Cardinal scored three or more goals in 17 of those victories.

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 64-team 2008 bracket. Stanford has appeared in the postseason 18 times in the program's history and holds an overall record of 19-14-5 (.566). This is only the second time in program history that the Cardinal have advanced to the College Cup, and last did so in 1993, when Julie Foudy still laced up her cleats for Stanford. The Cardinal lost its semifinal match in 1993 in penalty kicks to George Mason after tying the Patriots 1-1 in regulation.

Scouting Notre Dame
The Big East Champion Irish have advanced to the national semifinals for third consecutive year, fourth time in five years, and 10th time in school history, after posting a 2-0 win over Florida State in the quarterfinals. The 25th consecutive win set a new record for the longest winning streak in school history, and Notre Dame is 41-1-1 in their last 43 games, with the lone defeat being a 3-2 loss to the Seminoles in last year's College Cup semifinals in College Station, Texas.The Irish have outscored its postseason opponents 9-2, easily defeating Toledo 5-2 in the first round, squeaking by Michigan State and Minnesota 1-0 in the second and third rounds. Notre Dame needed a penalty kick in overtime to defeat the Golder Gophers and keep its championship hopes alive.Senior All-American Kerri Hanks, the MAC Hermann Trophy winner two years ago, leads the way for Notre Dame with 19 goals and 15 assists. Freshman Melissa Henderson is also a large threat, having posted 17 goals in her rookie debut. Junior goalkeeper Kelsey Lysander has started every match for the Irish and has only allowed nine goals for a 0.39 goals-against-average, and .842 save-percentage, and nine shutouts. Sophomore backup Nikki Weiss has seen 209 minutes in nine games.

The Series With The Fighting Irish
Stanford is 4-5-1 all-time against the Irish and the two teams last met on Sept. 9, 2007 at the Santa Clara/adidas Classic. In that match, Notre Dame bested the Cardinal 2-1 in overtime. Stanford has twice faced the Irish in the NCAA Tournament, splitting the series 1-1. In 2002, the last time the Cardinal played Notre Dame in the postseason, Stanford defeated the Irish 1-0 in the third round.

In The Rankings
The Cardinal finished the regular season with a NSCAA rank of No. 5, but were given one of the four top seeds in the NCAA Tournament bracket above No. 3 Portland, who received a No. 2 seed. Stanford's highest final regular-season rating came from Soccer America, who tabbed the Cardinal the third-best team in the country.

Amongst The Nation's Best
In all NCAA D-I competition, Stanford is ranked in the top 10 in all five team statistical categories. The Cardinal posts the nation's second-best GAA (0.289) and shutout percentage (0.708), third-best won-lost-tied percentage (0.938), fifth-best save percentage (0.875), and sixth-best scoring offense (2.96 goals per game). Individually, sophomore goalie Kira Maker (Potomac, Md./Thomas S. Wootton HS) holds the second-best GAA (0.302) and is eighth in save percentage (0.870). Kelley O'Hara is 23rd in assists-per-game (0.52) and 26th in points-per-game (1.65), Lindsay Taylor (Los Altos, Calif./Castilleja School) is ranked 25th in goals-per-game (0.696), and Christen Press is 17th in PPG (1.79).

Leading the Pac
On the Pac-10 side of things, Stanford leads the conference in points (209), goals (71), assists (67), shots (496), and is second in goals allowed (7), and shutouts (17). Individually, the Cardinal owns the top-three spots in points, goals, and assists. Lindsay Taylor is tied for first in goals (16) with Press, has the most game-winners (7), and is third in points (35). Christen Press has taken the most shots (114), leads in points (43), and is second in assists (11). Kelley O'Hara holds the top spot in assists (12), is second in points (38), is tied for second in game-winners (6), and is tied for third in goals (13). Also, Teresa Noyola (Palo Alto, Calif./Palo Alto HS) is third in assists (10) and Kira Maker tops the league in shutouts (14), and has the second-best GAA and save percentage.

Stanford Nearly Sweeps Pac-10 Awards
Lindsay Taylor was named the 2008 Pac-10 Women's Soccer Freshman of the Year and Paul Ratcliffe was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year, as the Cardinal took two of the league's three major postseason awards. Taylor, along with six other Stanford women also were honored by the conference, as three were named first-team All-Pac-10, while four others were selected to the second team.

Getting It Done OFF The Field
Allison Falk and Kira Maker were recently named ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans, as Falk was selected to the second team and Maker was honored on the third team. Falk has earned a 3.75 cumulative grade-point-average in American studies, while Maker boasts a nearly perfect 3.92 GPA and has yet to declare a major.

Barraging The Net
Stanford has amassed 496 total shots on its opponents, 263 of which were on goal, and has averaged 20.7 shots per game. All that effort has paid off too, as the Cardinal have a +64 goal differential. Stanford's 71 goals thus far set a new school single-season record.

The One-Two Punch
The Stanford offense scored at least one set of back-to-back goals just five minutes apart in 11 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. In the NCAA Tournament, Stanford scored three goals in the final 11 minutes of the first half on their way to a 5-0 victory over Kansas.

Hot Off The Press
Christen Press is currently on a six-game goal scoring streak, going all the way back to the Cardinal's regular-season match against USC on Nov. 2. Since then, she has scored six goals and recorded two assists (3G+2A in postseason matches), and two of her goals were tournament match winners. She is currently leads the squad in points (43), is tied with Lindsay Taylor in goals (16), is second in assists (11), and third in game-winners (5). Also, Press has found the net twice in a single game on three occasions.

Taylor Terrifying Defenses
Freshman Lindsay Taylor ranks second on the team behind Christen Press in scoring, totaling 35 points on 16 goals and three assists. The Pac-10 Freshman of the Year earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors, is part of the starting top line that has produced 45 of the team's 71 goals and has on four occasions recorded a multiple-goal game, including a hat trick against Santa Clara on Oct. 3.

Oh My O'Hara!
Kelley O'Hara, last season's leading scorer with nine goals, boosted her production and was the first Cardinal player this season to post double digits in goals and assists (now 13G, 12A). Her timing is impeccable too, as she's been putting the ball in the net at important moments. Five 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 a weekend in the Pacific Northwest with an insurance goal against Washington State (10/19). She has six game-winning goals and her most recent one came against Rutgers in the third round of the NCAA Tournament with only 4:46 remaining (11/21). 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).

Midfielders Finding The Net
The remainder of those 71 goals, save for two, 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. Sophomore Allison McCann, who has started 10 matches, has also contributed a goal and an assist this season, while redshirt junior Hillary Heath, who has started eight contests, scored her first goal of the season against Kansas and has added three assists.

Solid Defense
Stanford's back line of captains junior Ali Riley (Pacific Palisades, Calif./Harvard-Westlake HS), Marisa Abegg (Lake Oswego, Ore./Lakeridge HS), and Allison Falk, 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 47 saves in 24 games, recording 14 shutouts and a 0.30 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), and Portland (11/28). Abegg, a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist, assisted Kelley O'Hara's game-tying goal against North Carolina in the final minutes of regulation (9/12) and Falk has registered two goals and one assist, with both tallies coming from her head off a corner kick. The defense as a unit has contributed 12 assists on the year, including Maker's helper on Kristin Stannard's goal against Cal Poly (9/21).

Fabulous Freshmen
Of the 71 goals the Cardinal has recorded so far this year, freshmen Lindsay Taylor (16), Teresa Noyola (6), Camille Levin (6), and Kristy Zurmuhlen (Walpole, N.H./Fall Mountain Regional HS) (1) have contributed 29. 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 10th 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 six 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).

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 85-32-16 record and has piloted Stanford to an NCAA Tournament appearance each year he has been in charge, capped off by this years trip to the College Cup. This year marks the first time head coach Paul Ratcliffe has guided his team to the quarterfinals as well as the final four. Ratcliffe is 8-4-2 (.643) in postseason play with the Cardinal.

Cardinal Notes
Of the 22 players who have seen action this year, 18 have registered at least one point ... 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.

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