This Week in Pac-10 Women's Soccer
Dec. 3, 2008
Walnut Creek, Calif. -
Two Pac-10 Teams in College Cup
For the second time in Pac-10 History and for the second consecutive year, two Conference teams advance to the 2008 NCAA College Cup in Cary, N.C. The UCLA Bruins (22-0-2) and the Stanford Cardinal (22-1-1) mark the second time in Conference history two teams from the Pac-10 have made the women’s soccer final four. Last season, UCLA and USC represented the Pac-10 in the College Cup. In the College Cup history, teams from the same conference have met in the final four 10 times, including this year’s Pac-10 participation.
The Pac-10 earned two of the four No. 1 seeds, as both the Bruins and the Cardinal took the top spot in the 64-team bracket. Notre Dame (Big East) and North Carolina (ACC) also earned No. 1 seeding.
This year the College Cup features a dream match-up positioning all four No. 1 seeds against each other. Stanford will face Notre Dame in the first game of the semifinals at 1:30 PT on ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN360, while UCLA faces North Carolina at 4 p.m. PT on ESPNU in the second game of the day.
The combined record of the four NCAA College Cup teams is an impressive 92-2-5. Both UCLA and Notre Dame boast undefeated records, while North Carolina and Stanford each have one loss on the season. Interestingly, each of North Carolina and Stanford’s losses came at the hands of the fellow College Cup participants. The Tar Heels fell to Notre Dame 0-1 on Sept. 5, while Stanford lost to the Bruins, 0-1 on Oct. 31.
Potential UCLA vs. Stanford Match-Up
With wins over Notre Dame and North Carolina, the Pac-10 could see its first ever match-up of Conference opponents in the Championship game. UCLA and Stanford met earlier in the season in Los Angeles on Oct. 31, with the Bruins’ Christina DiMartino scoring the game-winning goal with 13 minutes left in regulation.
In the history of the NCAA, only three other conference opponents have met in the Championship game, with the last meeting coming in 2002 with West Coast Conference member Portland defeating fellow WCC member Santa Clara for the national title.
UCLA and Stanford are one and two in the nation in goals-against average and save percentage, while UCLA and Stanford goalkeepers Ashley Thompson and Kira Maker also rank one and two in the nation in the respective categories. UCLA and Stanford, combined, have only allowed 12 goals on the season compared to the 25 goals North Carolina and Notre Dame have allowed.
North Carolina leads the nation in scoring this season, averaging 3.31 goals per game. On the year, only twice has North Carolina been held to one goal in a game, once in the Tar Heels’ loss to Notre Dame and the other in their tie to Stanford.
UCLA has reached its sixth straight College Cup appearance and currently has the longest active streak of College Cup appearances dating back to its first final four match-up in 2003.
Against North Carolina
UCLA has met the Tar Heels three times in the NCAA tournament, with all match-ups coming in the College Cup. In UCLA’s first College Cut appearance, North Carolina defeated the Bruins (2-1) the the 2000 NCAA Final.
Record Setting Season
On Nov. 22, the Bruins set a new school record, posting their 19th shot of the season with a 1-0 victory over USC. UCLA also has the chance to set two new school records over the weekend. With a win over North Carolina on Friday, UCLA will set a new record for most wins on a season with 23. It would best the previous record set by the 2005 team, who recorded 22 wins on the season. Regardless of the outcome on Friday, UCLA will also post a record for fewest losses on the season. Currently unbeathen, UCLA’s previous record of fewest losses was two, set three times (’03, ’05, ’07).
Going into the semifinal match-up against North Carolina, UCLA has outscored it’s opponents in the NCAA Tournament this season, 8-1, and has only allowed five goals all year. UCLA currently leads the nation in goals-against average and save percentage.
The Cardinal has not allowed a goal in the postseason this year, shutting out UC Santa Barbara, Kansas, Rutgers and Portland, en route to its first College Cup appearance since 1993. Stanford out scored opponents in the NCAA tournament 9-0, including an impressive 5-0 route of Kansas.
When trailing at the half...
Stanford has only trailed in one game this season at the half. Against North Carolina, at home, after being down 1-0 at the half, the Cardinal scored the game-tying goal with a little under four minutes left on the clock to force overtime. The Cardinal eventually tied fellow College Cup participant North Carolina 1-1 in double overtime.
Heading into the College Cup, Stanford has a chance to break six single-season individual records including: goals, points, assists, shutouts, fewest goals allowed and lowest goals-allowed average. Currently, both FR F Lindsay Taylor and SO F Christen Press are tied for second for most goals scored in a single season with 16. The Stanford record for most goals on a season was set in 1993 by Sarah Rafanelli with 20.
The Cardinal has already broken two single-season individual records this year. GK Kira Maker broke the record for most minutes played in a season with 2087:14 and Press tied the record for most shots in a season with 114.
High Power Trio
Stanford’s Kelley O’Hara, Taylor and Press have scored a combined 45 goals this season, more than North Carolina (44), Notre Dame (42), and UCLA’s (31) top-three scorers. Taylor and Press have registered 16 goals each, while O’Hara has scored 13 goals on the season. However, O’Hara, Taylor and Press haven’t accounted for all of Stanford’s offense. Of the Cardinal’s 22 players seeing action this season, 18 have scored at least one goal.