Cardinal Prepares for Rutgers and Long Island

Sept. 5, 2006

Stanford, Calif. -

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This Week: The Stanford women's soccer team travels to the East Coast this week, for a pair of matches with Rutgers and Long Island. The Cardinal headed out Monday and will participate in a Right to Play event on Tuesday. On Friday night at 7 p.m. (ET), the team will meet the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on their home turf, seeking to capture a win in the first-ever meeting between the two programs. On Sunday, Stanford will match-up with the Long Island Blackbirds in a neutral site game set to kick-off at noon (ET).

On The Horizon: The Cardinal will host the Stanford Nike Invitational next weekend, a four-team tournament that includes the Cardinal, the Tennessee Lady Volunteers, the Santa Clara Broncos and the Boston University Terriers. All three Stanford guests are currently ranked, and all four teams return from 2005 NCAA Tournament appearances. The Terriers and Broncos will face off on Friday night to open the weekend, and the Cardinal will meet No. 12 Tennessee immediately afterwards. On Sunday, the Tennessee-Santa Clara match will be followed by a first-time battle between Stanford and Boston University.

So Far This Season: Stanford is four matches into the 2006 season and carries an even 2-2 record. In the opening weekend's action, the Cardinal dropped two close matches to Utah and No. 23 Wake Forest at the Santa Clara/adidas Classic. This weekend, the team rebounded from the losses and posted a pair of shutouts over San Francisco and Cal Poly. Stanford dominated the possession in both matches, out-shooting opponents 36-9 and allowing just two shots on frame.

Summers on the Attack: Senior midfielder Shari Summers returned from injury this weekend, and immediately made an impact for the Cardinal. Summers scored both game-winners and led the team with 12 shots for the weekend. The Canyon Country, Calif. native now has seven career goals to go along with two career assists.

Defensive Domination: The Cardinal back line, led by U.S. Senior National Team member Rachel Buehler, posted two shutouts this weekend and allowed opponents few legitimate looks at the goal. The starting foursome of Buehler, Marisa Abegg, Allison Falk and freshman Katie Riley continuously denied opponents chances to get in the box. In the two matches, the Cardinal defense held opponents scoreless, gave up just two corner kicks, allowed just nine shots and required goalkeeper Alex Gamble to make just one save.

Freshmen on the Board: Two Cardinal freshmen made their marks in the Stanford scoring column this weekend, as each notched her first collegiate goal. Kristin Stannard, a Midlothian, Va. native, sent a hard drive off the crossbar and into the net in the 71st minute against San Francisco. In Sunday's match, freshman Alicia Jenkins sealed the Cardinal victory, driving home a Lea MacKinnon pass in the 86th minute.

The Series with Rutgers: Friday night's meeting will be the first in history between the Stanford Cardinal and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Stanford is 8-6-1 in matches with Big East opponents, however. The last time Stanford met a Big East opponent was on Sept. 26, 2004, when the team blanked Marquette, 5-0. Rutgers is an even 4-4 against Pac-10 opponents.

Scouting the Scarlet Knights: Head Coach Mike O'Neill returns 14 letterwinners and six starters to his 2006 squad, after posting a 9-9-1 overall record last season. Leading the way are both of last year's leading scorers, sophomore Kristen Edmonds and senior Dominique Esposito. The pair combined for 12 goals, ten assists and 34 points in 2005. In their two matches so far this season, the Scarlet Knights have been led by a trio of new faces. Freshman forward Karla Schacher leads the team with two goals, while freshmen Gina DeMaio and Kristie Lang have each netted one. So far this season, Rutgers has topped James Madison and Richmond on the road, 3-1 and 2-1, respectively.

The Series with Long Island: This weekend, the Cardinal also will meet the Long Island Blackbirds, and a member of the Northeastern Conference, for the first time in history. Long Island has never beaten a Pac-10 opponent, as the Blackbirds were defeated by Arizona during the 2000 season and in successive matches by Oregon State and Washington State last year.

Scouting the Blackbirds: The Blackbirds are coached by Tracey Bartholomew, who enters her seventh season as head coach. Her squad returns 14 letterwinners and eight starters from a team that posted a 13-6-1 record last year and just missed an NCAA Tournament berth. The Blackbirds are 1-3 so far this season, as the team dropped matches to St. Mary's and Pacific on a season-opening road trip to California. This past weekend, the team topped Rider, 2-0, before falling to Columbia by the same score. Freshman Aly Hanson leads the team so far with two of the Blackbirds' three goals.

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