Stanford's fourth straight title highlights week in women's soccer
By the Pac-12 Conference
Stanford clinched its fourth consecutive Pac-12 title with a win over then-No. 2 UCLA on Sunday. The Cardinal, which extended its Conference winning streak to 41 games (the third longest in NCAA DI history), edged USC in double overtime on Friday and scored two late goals to rally past the Bruins on Sunday. Rivalry matchups await the Cardinal and its Conference cohorts in the final week of the regular season, as the defending NCAA champs travel to Berkeley to play California on Sunday in the Pac-12's regular season finale. Stanford has not lost a true road match since 2008 and looks to post its fourth perfect Conference record in as many years. The Cardinal remains at No. 1 in the latest NSCAA poll, while UCLA slipped to No. 3 and California—which lost to UCLA on Friday— fell to No. 23. Washington is the Conference's lone unranked vote-getter in the coaches' poll. Every league matchup this weekend, which includes the Arizona/Arizona State, Colorado/Utah, Oregon/Oregon State, USC/UCLA and Washington/Washington State rivalries, will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks. The action kicks off on Friday with three afternoon matches.
(Times local to site)
Friday, November 2
Washington at Washington State* (Pac-12 Networks) 2:00 p.m. PT
Arizona at Arizona State* (Pac-12 Networks) 4:00 p.m. PT
Utah at Colorado* (Pac-12 Networks) 3:00 p.m. MT
Oregon State at Oregon* (Pac-12 Networks) 4:00 p.m. PT
UCLA at USC* (Pac-12 Networks) 2:00 p.m. PT
Sunday, October 28
Stanford at California* (Pac-12 Networks) 11:00 a.m. PT
AROUND THE LEAGUE
•Sunday proved memorable for a number of Conference freshmen who came up big for their teams. California forward Ifeoma Onumonu scored her fourth game-winning goal of the season in the 74th minute on Sunday to lift the Bears over USC, 1-0. She ranks second in the Conference and leads all Pac-12 freshmen with 11 goals this season. Arizona State forward Cali Farquharson netted the game-winner with 22 seconds remaining in double overtime to give the Sun Devils a 2-1 victory over Colorado. She ranks second among Conference freshmen with eight goals in 2012. UCLA forward Taylor Smith scored the first goal of the match early in the second half against Stanford, and Cardinal defender Laura Liedle served a cross later in the frame set up junior Rachel Quon's game-winning strike.
•In a matchup of the Pac-12's newest members, Colorado and Utah do battle in Boulder on Friday. The Utes won last year's tilt in Salt Lake City, but Colorado has won two of its last three games, and Utah is still looking for its first road win in Pac-12 play this season. Prior to Sunday's loss to Arizona State, the Buffaloes had notched back-to-back wins (USC and Arizona) in Conference play for the first time since joining the Pac-12 in 2011.
•This year's Apple Cup game pits a pair of squads that have made strong cases for earning NCAA Tournament berths in 2012. The Huskies (10-6-3) haven't beaten Washington State (11-6-1) since 2003, but they have drawn three of the last four matches (with an overtime loss in 2010), and every contest since 2003 has been decided by one goal or less. The Cougars are coming off their first sweep of the Oregon schools since 2009.
• The Sun Devils, winners of three straight, feature two players in the top 10 in the Pac-12 in scoring in junior forward Devin Marshall (fifth, 9 goals) and Farquharson (tied for sixth, 8 goals). The Conference's leaders in saves, Gabby Kaufman (5.26 per game), and shots, Jazmin Ponce (4.37 per game) will take the field for Arizona. Ponce is tied for sixth in the Pac-12 in scoring with eight goals on the year.
• Four of the last six meetings between Oregon and Oregon State have required overtime, with the Ducks claiming a 1-0-3 edge in those contests. The Beavers have won the other two matches during that stretch, however, and hold a 10-6-4 advantage in the series. Oregon freshman forward Kristen Parr an OSU junior forward Jenna Richardson lead their respective teams with seven goals this season, a total that ties for 10th in the Pac-12. OSU goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme needs 12 saves to tie the school freshman record for saves in a season, a feat made more impressive by the fact that she has played in just 12 of a possible 19 games.
• Stanford has won the last three contests in the Bay Area Derby series convincingly, but Cal (which can finish no worse than third in the Conference) has notched some gutsy wins against a tough Pac-12 slate.
•UCLA and USC have split the last two matches of the series. The Bruins claimed a 5-2 victory in Westwood in 2011, while the Trojans claimed a 1-0 decision at the Coliseum in 2010. UCLA's Zakiya Bywaters leads the league in points (1.56 per game) and goals (0.67 per game), while Bruin goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland leads the Pac-12 in goals against average (0.42), save percentage (.854) and shutouts (9). USC, which fell to top-ranked Stanford to double overtime and pushed then-No. 21 Cal to the brink (while outshooting the Bears) last week, won't be intimidated by UCLA's No. 2 billing. UCLA (17.78) and USC (17.17) rank second and third in the Conference, respectively in shots per game.
• Streak Tracker: California suffered its first road loss of the season at UCLA on Friday. The Bears started the season 7-0 in true road games for the first time in program history, while UCLA's road unbeaten streak sits at ten games (The Bruins extended their overall unbeaten streak to 25 games before losing to Stanford on Sunday). Stanford, which clinched the Pac-12 title last week, hasn't lost a true road match since October 31, 2008 when it fell to UCLA at Drake Stadium. The Cardinal also rides a 41-game Conference winning streak.